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Developing and Testing an Intervention for Safer Privacy Setting Use With Facebook™: The Impact on Disclosure and Use of Privacy Settings

, Wilfrid Laurier University , Canada

Wilfrid Laurier University . Awarded


With the rapid advancements in technology, using the Internet for communication is becoming more prevalent every day. In 2007, 93% of Canadian Internet users reported using the Internet for communication functions (Middleton, Veenhof & Leith, 2010). Social networking sites and online profiles are, therefore, quickly gaining popularity (Yum, 2007). One popular social networking site, Facebook™, is currently reaching over 500 million active users (Statistics Facebook™, 2011). With this increased use of the online context for social interactions it is important to ensure that users are aware of the risks and taught safe practices in using these sites.

The present thesis was comprised of two studies, one that involved the development of a video intervention tool, and the other that involved the implementation of an intervention designed to inform people of the potential risks associated with the use of social networking sites and ways in which they can protect themselves. Furthermore, the study looked at whether the use of two monitors allowing the users to look at the video and their Facebook™ account simultaneously, versus one monitor would have an impact. There were two intervention conditions one in which participants were required to watch the video and one in which they had the option of whether or not to watch the video. Each of the two conditions was tested with dual computer screens and single computer screens. Participants included a convenience sample of 168 students between the ages of 17 and 26 who were randomly assigned to one of four conditions (training and single screen, training and double screen, choice and single screen, choice and double screen). Participants received a pre-test survey, followed by the video if they were in the training condition, or the choice to watch the video if they were in the choice condition and then were given 20 minutes to spend on Facebook™. Disclosure and privacy setting use were measured prior to and after the intervention and then compared. Results indicate that the intervention had a significant impact on the use of privacy settings, but not on the disclosure of information. Those in the training condition changed more settings than those in the choice of training condition, more specifically those that watched the video, whether by requirement or choice, were more likely to change their settings than those who did not watch the video. The use of dual monitors versus single monitors did not have any effect. When gender differences were explored men were more likely to disclose and no differences were found between men and women in the use of privacy settings. The exploratory survey measures (online technology use, privacy behaviour and concern, and who users think of when posting personal and non-personal information) were not predictive of privacy setting use. This study shows promising use of direct and explicit instruction in the teaching of privacy online.


Archer, K. Developing and Testing an Intervention for Safer Privacy Setting Use With Facebook™: The Impact on Disclosure and Use of Privacy Settings. Master's thesis, Wilfrid Laurier University. Retrieved September 22, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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