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While some online social networking (OSN) websites, such as Facebook, have reported sustained growth, others, such as Bebo, have not. This study investigates the factors that influence users' intentions to continue using these websites. We adapt the theory of reasoned action and develop a model depicting how trusting beliefs, habit, attitude, and subjective norm lead to continuance intention. We propose that trusting beliefs and habit will have differential effects depending on the levels of privacy restrictiveness and site experience. An analysis of data collected from Facebook users shows that the effects of trusting beliefs on continuance intention diminish as OSN users become more experienced, yet, do not diminish when users set privacy controls high. The latter finding contradicts theory positing control and trusting beliefs are substitutes. The finding that the trusting belief-continuance intention relationship is not significant when experience is high demonstrates that trusting beliefs and experience interact. We also show that habit is a stronger predictor when users restrict their personal information. However, contrary to predictions, habit shapes intention among users with both high and low experience. These findings explain how habit and trusting beliefs predict continuance intention in the new OSN environment and have both practical and research implications.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2012