Investigating Privacy Perception and Behavior on Weibo

Investigating Privacy Perception and Behavior on Weibo

Clinton Amos (Weber State University, USA), Lixuan Zhang (Weber State University, USA) and Iryna Pentina (University of Toledo, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8111-8.ch064


More than half of Chinese Internet users participate in Weibo, the most popular social media and microblogging platform in China. Weibo encourages members to voluntarily contribute personal information, leading to potential privacy invasion. This study examines how trust in other members and perceptions of government intrusion affect privacy-related attitude and behavior on this social platform. Analysis of survey responses from 221 Weibo users confirm that perceived government intrusion is strongly correlated with privacy concern and self-protective behavior. Trust towards other Weibo participants is not significantly related to privacy concern; however it has a significant negative relationship with self-protective behavior. The study also reveals that privacy concern is positively related to self-protective behavior. Findings and their implications for future research and practice are provided.
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2. Theoretical Development And Hypotheses

Communication privacy management (CPM) theory (Petronio, 2002) suggests that individuals believe private information is a possession that they have the right to control. Consequently, each person forms an informational space around oneself, and its individually-established boundaries determine information sharing behavior. Depending on the situational and personal factors, any attempt by others to penetrate these boundaries can represent a threat. In social media, due to ubiquitous access to information by anyone, situational factor such as the government policy and personal factor such as trust in other members may affect individual information boundary. The resulting perceived concern may lead limited information disclosure or the provision of false information.

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