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A contradiction between the reported privacy concerns and observed privacy behaviour of users of social networking sites has been reported. To understand this contradiction this paper examines factors that influence privacy behaviour of users on social networking sites. Participants in this study were freshmen studying IT recruited from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University during the academic year of 2011. A questionnaire was used to study the reported privacy concerns of the participants, followed by observations on the public Facebook profiles of the participants to shed light on their actual behaviour. Interviews exposed factors that negatively influence privacy behaviour, while another questionnaire explored factors that positively influence privacy behaviour. This study shows that the contradiction between privacy concerns and observed privacy behaviour varies according to the type of information in question. Based on the findings, we developed a model that identifies factors that users consider when choosing privacy settings on Facebook.
Date of Conference: 3-5 Sept. 2012