vehemently when their information appeared in the News Feed.Why did this shift occur? To explore answers to this question,we conducted a survey among 172 current Facebook users in alarge US university to explore their usage behaviors and privacyattitudes toward the introduction of the controversial News Feedand Mini Feed features. The results demonstrate the importanceof perceived control and ease of information access in alleviatingusers’ privacy concerns pertaining to the release of News Feedand Mini Feed features.In what follows, we present the survey-based study, describingthe background, demographics, and patterns of Facebook usage. Inour data analysis, we investigate the degree to which users wereupset by the changes, explore the reasons as to why, and examinethe inﬂuences of the News Feed privacy outcry on user behaviorchanges. The paper concludes with a discussion of theoreticaland practical implications, and directions for future research.
2. A survey-based study of Facebook
Our survey was completed one month after the introduction of the News Feed feature. We sent out surveys to 1000 randomly se-lected members of the community of a large US university (staff,students, and faculty, including both users and nonusers of Face-book) in the wake of the News Feed controversy. In this study,weaskedcurrentFacebookusersabouttheiruseofsocialnetwork-ing systems, what types of information they provide, their reac-tions to the controversy, and their understanding of privacypolicies past and present.
=172). Over 53%of current membershave usedFacebookfor more thanone year.
2.2. Patterns of Facebook usage
Why do people use Facebook? Prior studies on OSNs underlinethe importance of self-presentation and relationship maintenanceforOSNparticipation(AcquistiandGross2006,Dwyer2007,Dwyeretal.2007,Levinetal.2008).OSNuserscommonlypresent‘‘salientaspectsoftheiridentityforotherstoseeandinterpret”(Boyd2007,p.11)bycommunicatingtheirinterestsinmusicormovies,sharingtheirphotos,andupdatingtheirnewsandachievements.Inaddition,OSNsprovideconvenientfunctionalityforrelationshipmaintenancethrough wall-to-wall (public) communications, private synchro-nous and asynchronous messaging, joining group discussions, as
Mean or%GenderMale 48%Female 52%EthnicityWhite 86%Non-white 14%Usage of FacebookLess than a month 2.4%1–6 Months 28.7%6–12 Months 15.2%1–2 Years 36.0%Longer than two years 17.7%Age18–25 64.8%26–34 14.3%35–44 10.2%45–54 6.5%55–64 3.8%65 or older 0.3%Technology-based activities*Surf the web 4.34Use email 4.70Use instant messenger 3.27Publish or comment in blogs 1.66Play online single-player games (arcade-style games, solitaire, etc.) 1.67Play online multi-player games (World of Warcraft, and chess) 1.44Use a cell phone for text messaging 2.92Use ofﬁce productivity applications (word processing, spreadsheets,etc.)3.95
represents 1=never, 2=once a week or less, 3=more than once a week,4=almost every day, 5=very frequently every day.
1 not useful at all;
2 a little useful; 3 somewhat useful; 4 useful; 5 very useful
Respondents report usefulness of Facebook.
C.M. Hoadley et al./Electronic Commerce Research and Applications xxx (2009) xxx–xxx
ARTICLE IN PRESS
Please cite this article in press as: Hoadley, C. M., et al. Privacy as information access and illusory control: The case of the Facebook News Feed privacyoutcry.
Electron. Comm. Res. Appl.