An Empirical Investigation on Internet Privacy on Social Network Sites among Malaysian Youths

An Empirical Investigation on Internet Privacy on Social Network Sites among Malaysian Youths

Norsaremah Salleh (International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia), Ramlah Hussein (Sri Jentayu Sdn Bh, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and Norshidah Mohamed (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jitr.2012070105


People have been using Social Network Sites (SNS) to communicate and make friends online. Although SNS offer many benefits to users, information privacy seems to be overlooked. Based on the Protection Motivation Theory, this study investigated the factors that might influence youths to disclose information about themselves on the SNS. Four factors were investigated to determine whether there are significant relationships between them and information disclosure. The factors were perceived vulnerability, perceived severity, perceived benefits and self-efficacy. A self-administered questionnaire was developed to capture useful information pertaining to the subject matter. Using university students as sample, five hundred questionnaires were distributed and four hundred and eighty six were collected for further analysis. The results revealed that perceived vulnerability, perceived benefits and self-efficacy were significantly related to information disclosure, while perceived severity was not significantly related.
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Research Framework

Our study is based on the conceptualized framework on Protection and Motivation Theory (PMT) developed by Rogers (1983) (Figure 1). To some extent, the PMT will be incorporated with other supporting factors that are believed to influence users’ perception of privacy and security awareness in SNS. The Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) postulates that one’s motivation to protect himself/herself from a risky situation is determined by threat and coping appraisals (Rogers & Prentice-Dunn, 1997).

Figure 1.

Protection motivation theory (adapted from Roger, 1983)

The threat appraisals consist of perceived vulnerability and perceived severity, meanwhile coping appraisals include self-efficacy and response efficacy. Perceived severity refers to one’s perception of the level of damage which may result from engaging in risky situation; meanwhile perceived vulnerability refers to one’s perception of experiencing possible negative consequences from performing risky behaviour.

The PMT has been applied widely in the psychology, health-related and environmental protection research. In the context of Information Systems (IS), the PMT has been used to examine user’s protective behaviour in online transaction (LaRose, Rifon, & Enbody, 2006; Youn, 2009), employee’s awareness to organizational information security policies (Herath & Rao, 2009; Siponen, Pahnila, & Mahmood, 2010) and individual use of security software (Johnston & Warkentin, 2010).

However, only few studies have applied the PMT to explain users’ protective behavior associated with information disclosure online (Banks, Onita, & Meservy, 2010; Youn, 2009). Banks et al. (2010) focused on information sharing behaviour in online social media by using PMT and added social influence to their framework, whilst Youn (2009) studied young adolescents’ demographic factors and protection behavior in e-commerce environment. In a recent study, Mohamed and Ahmad (2012) combined the Protection Motivation Theory and Social Cognitive Theory to explain college students’ information privacy concerns.

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