Online social networks in Germany: Privacy behavior and concern
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The thesis is in two parts. The first part presents a conceptual model that attempts to delineate the links between the company (hereinafter also 'social network provider', 'organization' or 'website') and consumer (hereinafter also 'user', 'social network user', or 'member') characteristics and how these links in turn influence the use and adoption of privacy protection strategies. The primary objective of the model is to explain consumers' privacy behaviors while using social networking websites. Privacy behaviors refer to how consumers control their personal information. A combination of organization and consumer characteristics work together to determine the level of privacy features offered. These features are then made available to the consumer. The extent of consumer use of the offered privacy features will be determined by consumer characteristics. The second part of the thesis describes the results of an empirical study. The study examines privacy behavior regarding online social networks in Germany. A sample of German residents was used to investigate the relationships between trust, security, technology, and privacy behavior. The results did not show any significant predictions of privacy behavior. However, security and technology were found to be strong predictors of trust in the website. The results indicate that site builders need to promote trust among consumers by making their security and privacy policies transparent.