Social media privacy concerns: trusting beliefs and risk beliefs

Date09 July 2018
Publication Date09 July 2018
AuthorAlex Koohang,Joanna Paliszkiewicz,Jerzy Goluchowski
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information systems,Data management systems,Knowledge management,Knowledge sharing,Management science & operations,Supply chain management,Supply chain information systems,Logistics,Quality management/systems
Social media privacy concerns:
trusting beliefs and risk beliefs
Alex Koohang
Middle Georgia State University, Macon, Georgia, USA
Joanna Paliszkiewicz
Department of Economics, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Warsaw,
Poland, and
Jerzy Goluchowski
Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Katowicach, Katowice, Poland
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to build a research model that examines social media privacy
concerns (SMPC) in relation to userstrusting beliefs and risk beliefs.
Design/methodology/approach An instrument with eight constructs (SMPC: collection, SMPC:
secondary usage, SMPC: errors, SMPC: improper access, SMPC: control, SMPC: awareness, trusting beliefs
and risk beliefs) was developed and administered to subjects from a mid-sized university in the USA.
Collected data were analyzed using partial least square structural equation modeling.
Findings The results showed that three of the six SMPC (i.e. secondary usage, improper access and
awareness) were negatively and significantly associated with userstrusting beliefs. In addition, three of the
six SMPC (i.e. collection, errors and improper access) were positively and significantly associated with users
risk beliefs.
Practical implications Practical implications were aimed at the social media sites to design simple and
straightforward privacy policy statements that are easy to understand; to safeguard usersonline privacy
behaviors; and to develop mechanisms to protect personal information.
Originality/value This study enhances the literature by contributing to a generalized knowledge of SMPC
of users as they relate to their trusting beliefs and risk beliefs.
Keywords Privacy concerns, Social media, User behaviour, Trusting beliefs, Risk beliefs
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Information privacy has been described as confidentiality, secrecy and anonymity
(Margulis, 2003). Westin (1967) referred to information privacy as the user ability to
control his or her personal information. Information privacy in the field of information
systems has predominantly focused on measurement of privacy concern constructs
(e.g. Malhotra et al., 2004; Slyke et al., 2006; Dinev and Hart, 2005, 2006; Youn, 2009;
Xu et al., 2008).
In general, usersonline privacy concerns are associated with user disclosure of
personal information and the manner personal information is collected and used by
websites (Metzger, 2006). Literature has documented various dimensions of privacy
concerns, i.e., unauthorized access (Smith et al., 1996), control over collection, usage of
personal information (Sheehan and Hoy, 2000; Smith et al., 1996), errors, improper access
(Malhotra et al., 2004); unauthorized usage, secondary usage (Chen and Rea, 2004;
Malhotra et al., 2004) and awareness (Smith et al., 1996).
Privacy concernson social media sites have also beenthe focus of research (e.g. Tang et al.,
2010; Compañó and Lusoli, 2010 ; Benisch et al., 2011; Madden, 2012; Madejski et al., 2012;
Koohang, 2017). Social media is a platform for communicating and sharing information
(Kietzmann et al., 2011), creating user-generated content, e.g., videos, music, text and photos
(Steenkamp and Hyde-Clarke, 2014), self-presentation, developing relationships and sharing
knowledge (Kietzmann et al., 2011). Social media sites include social network sites, media
Industrial Management & Data
Vol. 118 No. 6, 2018
pp. 1209-1228
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/IMDS-12-2017-0558
Received 3 December 2017
Revised 23 January 2018
Accepted 28 January 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Social media
sharing platforms, blogs or weblogs, micro-blogging, wiki technologies, virtual worlds,
location-based services, social bookmarking services, group buying/collective buying
platforms, writing communities platforms, review sites and the internet forum/message
(Paliszkiewicz and Koohang, 2016).
The popularity of the social media sites is growing very rapidly. Recently, eBizMBA
(2017) reported that the first top five popular social media sites in terms of estimated unique
monthly visitors were Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Madden
(2012) stated that the increased use of social media sites elevates privacy concerns among
users. Trust and risk are the two constructs that have been researched widely in relation to
online privacy concerns (e.g. Fogel and Nehmad, 2009; Dinev and Hart, 2006; Pavlou et al.,
2007; Kim et al., 2008; Hong and Thong, 2013). An individual with high privacy concerns is
less likely to trust a website to manage his or her personal information. Conversely, an
individual with high privacy concern is more likely to find it risky to disclose his or her
personal information to a website (Hong and Thong, 2013). These findings may also be true
with social media sites; therefore, the goal of the present study is to build a research model to
specifically focus on six social media privacy concerns (SMPC), i.e., collection, secondary
usage, errors, improper access, control and awareness in relation to userstrusting beliefs
and risk beliefs.
Consistent with its goal, this paper is organized as follows. First, SMPC, trusting beliefs
and risk beliefs are defined. Second, the theoretical background that leads to the
development of studys hypotheses is presented. Third, the studys methodology explains
the measures, population sample, study procedure and data analysis. Fourth, the results of
data analysis are presented. Fifth, a discussion of theoretical contributions, practical
implications, limitations, future research and conclusion complete the paper.
1.1 Definition of terms
The terms SMPC, trusting beliefs and risk beliefs are taken from Hong and Thong (2013)
and adapted in the context of social media sites for the present study.
Social media privacy concerns (SMPC). The degree to which a user is concerned about a
social media sites practices and procedures relating to his or her personal information. The
SMPCs include collection, secondary usage, errors, improper access, control and awareness.
Trusting beliefs. The degree to which a user trusts a social media site with his or her
personal information. Trust entails a social media sites competency, benevolence, integrity
and predictability in using userspersonal information.
Risk beliefs. The degree to which a user on a social media site risks disclosing his or her
personal information. Risk on a social media site entails potential for loss of personal
information, uncertainty about how personal information may be used and unexpected
problems associated with disclosing users personal information.
1.2 Theoretical background
The internet privacy concerns or online information privacy has been the focus of many
research studies (e.g. Alge et al., 2006; Chen and Rea, 2004; Harris et al., 2003; Liu et al., 2005;
Sheehan and Hoy, 2000; Smith et al., 1996, Malhotra et al., 2004; Stewart and Segars, 2002;
Angst and Agarwal, 2009; Culnan and Armstrong, 1999; Hann et al., 2007; Pavlou et al., 2007;
Son and Kim, 2008; Slyke et al., 2006; Xu et al., 2008; Davison et al., 2003; Chan et al., 2005).
Hong and Thong (2013, p. 279) defined internet privacy concerns as [] the degree to
which an Internet user is concerned about website practices related to the collection and use
of his or her personal information.Privacy concerns are often caused by the lack
of companiesefforts to protect personal information of users (Buchanan et al. 2007;
Culnan and Williams 2009; Pavlou et al. 2007).

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