University of Oulu

Padyab, A., Päivärinta, T., Ståhlbröst, A., & Bergvall-Kåreborn, B. (2019). Awareness of Indirect Information Disclosure on Social Network Sites. Social Media + Society.

Awareness of indirect information disclosure on social network sites

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Author: Padyab, Ali1; Päivärinta, Tero1,2; Ståhlbröst, Anna1;
Organizations: 1Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
2University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-10-29


This research investigates user awareness and attitudes toward potential inferences of information posted on social network sites (SNSs). The study reports how user attitudes change after exposure to inferences made based upon information they have disclosed on an SNS, namely, on Facebook. To demonstrate this, two sub-studies involving three focus group sessions were conducted with Facebook users. In the first sub-study, the users received a general introduction to information that can be inferred from posts by using a prototypical privacy-enhancement tool called DataBait. Then, the second sub-study allowed the users to witness the potential inferences of their own Facebook photos and posts by using the DataBait tool. Next, qualitative content analysis was conducted to analyze the results, and these showed that the participants’ attitudes toward privacy on SNSs changed from affective to cognitive when they became aware of potential inferences from actual information posted on their own Facebook accounts. The results imply that end users require more cognitive awareness regarding their genres of disclosure and the effect of their disclosures on their privacy. Moreover, as privacy awareness is contextual, there is a need for more research and development of online tools that will allow users to manage and educate themselves.

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Series: Social media + society
ISSN: 2056-3051
ISSN-E: 2056-3051
ISSN-L: 2056-3051
Volume: 5
Issue: 2
Article number: 2056305118824199
DOI: 10.1177/2056305118824199
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This work was funded by the European Commission in the context of the Horizon 2020 project U4IoT (Grant Agreement No. 732078) and the FP7 project USEMP (Grant Agreement No. 611596).
Copyright information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (