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Trust into Collective Privacy? The Role of Subjective Theories for Self-Disclosure in Online Communication

Institute of Psychology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Fliednerstr. 21, 48149 Münster, Germany
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These authors contributed equally to this work.
Societies 2014, 4(4), 770-784; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc4040770
Received: 3 July 2014 / Revised: 1 December 2014 / Accepted: 4 December 2014 / Published: 15 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Social Capital)
In order to build and maintain social capital in their Online Social Networks, users need to disclose personal information, a behavior that at the same time leads to a lower level of privacy. In this conceptual paper, we offer a new theoretical perspective on the question of why people might regulate their privacy boundaries inadequately when communicating in Online Social Networks. We argue that people have developed a subjective theory about online privacy putting them into a processing mode of default trust. In this trusting mode people would (a) discount the risk of a self-disclosure directly; and (b) infer the risk from invalid cues which would then reinforce their trusting mode. As a consequence people might be more willing to self-disclose information than their actual privacy preferences would otherwise indicate. We exemplify the biasing potential of a trusting mode for memory and metacognitive accuracy and discuss the role of a default trust mode for the development of social capital. View Full-Text
Keywords: Online Social Networks; self-disclosure; privacy; subjective theory; memory; metacognitive accuracy Online Social Networks; self-disclosure; privacy; subjective theory; memory; metacognitive accuracy
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Moll, R.; Pieschl, S.; Bromme, R. Trust into Collective Privacy? The Role of Subjective Theories for Self-Disclosure in Online Communication. Societies 2014, 4, 770-784.

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