The privacy paradox in the context of online social networking: A self‐identity perspective

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Drawing on identity theory and privacy research, this paper argues that the need for self-identity is a key factor affecting people’s privacy behavior in social networking sites. I first unpack the mainstream, autonomy-centric discourse of privacy, and then present a research model that illustrates a possible new theorization of the relationship between self-identity and information privacy. An empirical study with Facebook users confirms the main hypotheses. In particular, the data show that the need for self-identity is positively related to privacy management behaviors, which in turn result in increased self-disclosure in online social networks. I subsequently argue that the so-called “privacy paradox” is not a paradox per se in the context of online social networking; rather, privacy concerns reflect the ideology of an autonomous self, whereas social construction of self-identity explains voluntary self-disclosure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number3
Early online date19 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Information privacy
  • Privacy paradox
  • Self-identity
  • Social networking sites

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