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Emilee Rader

Associate Professor and AT&T Scholar @ Michigan State University

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The Imagined Audience and Privacy Concern on Facebook: Differences Between Producers and Consumers

by: Yumi Jung and Emilee Rader

Abstract

Facebook users share information with others by creating posts and specifying who should be able to see each post. Once a user creates a post, those who see it have the ability to copy and re-share the information. But, if the reader has a different understanding of the information in the post than the creator intended, he or she may use the information in ways that are contrary to the intentions of the original creator. This study examined whether post creators (Producers) and readers (Consumers) who are Facebook Friends had similar levels of privacy concern regarding how others might use the information in specific posts, and how their privacy concern about the post varied by whether the imagined audience consisted of Friends, Friends of Friends, or the general Public. The results showed that both Producers and Consumers had similar levels of privacy concern about a post shared with an imagined audience of Friends versus Friends of Friends. However, Consumers believed posts were more private than the Producers themselves did, and showed more privacy concern. This shows that post Consumers care about Producers’ privacy, perceive that they are co-owners of the information, and engage in boundary management with Producers.

Reference

Yumi Jung and Emilee Rader. “The Imagined Audience and Privacy Concern on Facebook: Differences Between Producers and ConsumersSocial Media + Society. Vol. 2 No. 2 2016.

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