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      Information disclosure and control on Facebook: are they two sides of the same coin or two different processes?

      Cyberpsychology & behavior : the impact of the Internet, multimedia and virtual reality on behavior and society
      Adolescent, Communication, Female, Friends, psychology, Humans, Internet, Male, Personality Inventory, statistics & numerical data, Privacy, Psychometrics, Self Concept, Self Disclosure, Social Desirability, Social Identification, Social Support, Software Design, Students, Trust, Young Adult

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          Facebook, the popular social network site, is changing the nature of privacy and the consequences of information disclosure. Despite recent media reports regarding the negative consequences of disclosing information on social network sites such as Facebook, students are generally thought to be unconcerned about the potential costs of this disclosure. The current study explored undergraduate students' information disclosure and information control on Facebook and the personality factors that influence levels of disclosure and control. Participants in this online survey were 343 undergraduate students who were current users of Facebook. Results indicated that participants perceived that they disclosed more information about themselves on Facebook than in general, but participants also reported that information control and privacy were important to them. Participants were very likely to have posted information such as their birthday and e-mail address, and almost all had joined an online network. They were also very likely to post pictures such as a profile picture, pictures with friends, and even pictures at parties and drinking with friends. Contrary to expectations, information disclosure and information control were not significantly negatively correlated, and multiple regression analyses revealed that while disclosure was significantly predicted by the need for popularity, levels of trust and self-esteem predicted information control. Therefore, disclosure and control on Facebook are not as closely related as expected but rather are different processes that are affected by different aspects of personality. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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