Place Determinants for the Personalization-Privacy Tradeoff among Students

Maor Weinberger, Dan Bouhnik
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 15  •  2018  •  pp. 079-095

This exploratory study investigates the influential factors of users’ decisions in the dilemma of whether to agree to online personalization or to protect their online privacy.

Various factors related to online privacy and anonymity were considered, such as user’s privacy concern on the Web in general and particularly on social networks, user online privacy literacy, and field of study.

To this end, 155 students from different fields of study in the Israeli academia were administered closed-ended questionnaires.

The multivariate linear regression analysis showed that as the participants’ privacy concern increases, they tend to prefer privacy protection over online personalization. In addition, there were significant differences between men and women, as men tended to favor privacy protection more than women did.

This research has social implications for the academia and general public as they show it is possible to influence the personalization-privacy tradeoff and encourage users to prefer privacy protection by raising their concern for the preservation of their online privacy. Furthermore, the users’ preference to protect their privacy even at the expense of their online malleability may lead to the reduction of online privacy-paradox behavior.

Since our results were based on students' self-perceptions, which might be biased, future work should apply qualitative analysis to explore additional types and influencing factors of online privacy behavior.

online privacy behavior, online personalization, privacy paradox, privacy concern, online privacy literacy, online privacy self-efficacy
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