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Will You Accept the Government's Friend Request? Social Networks and Privacy Concerns

Authors
Journal
PLoS ONE
1932-6203
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Volume
8
Issue
11
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080682
Keywords
  • Research Article
Disciplines
  • Political Science

Abstract

Participating in social network websites entails voluntarily sharing private information, and the explosive growth of social network websites over the last decade suggests shifting views on privacy. Concurrently, new anti-terrorism laws, such as the USA Patriot Act, ask citizens to surrender substantial claim to privacy in the name of greater security. I address two important questions regarding individuals' views on privacy raised by these trends. First, how does prompting individuals to consider security concerns affect their views on government actions that jeopardize privacy? Second, does the use of social network websites alter the effect of prompted security concerns? I posit that prompting individuals to consider security concerns does lead to an increased willingness to accept government actions that jeopardize privacy, but that frequent users of websites like Facebook are less likely to be swayed by prompted security concerns. An embedded survey experiment provides support for both parts of my claim.

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