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Examining Co-Owners’ Privacy Consideration in Collaborative Photo Sharing


Researchers have investigated how collaborative photo sharing, in which users (owners) share photos on social media that reveal other users’ (co-owners) information, can violate the co-owner’s privacy and how contextual factors, such as photo content and audience, can influence the co-owner’s privacy concerns and decisions. However, it is unclear how the contextual factors interact with each other. Since co-owners’ privacy attitudes are often influenced by multiple contextual factors at the same time, it is possible that the impact of one factor depends on the other factors. Through an interview and survey study with WeChat users in China, we found significant interaction effects among the contextual factors in collaborative photo sharing. The impact of one factor on co-owners’ concerns is dependent on another factor. We suggest a more holistic evaluation of contextual factors and discuss how our findings contribute to the understanding of contextual integrity framework. We also provide implications for future privacy design for collaborative photo-sharing on social media.

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Table 6

Table 6 Demographics of interviewees.

Table 7

Table 7 Demographics of survey participants.

Scenario-based survey questions

A close friend [acquaintance] shares a photo on WeChat that involves you. The photo will have a negative influence on your self-presentation (i.e., you looked awful or you were doing something inappropriate in the photo).

A close friend [acquaintance] shares a photo on WeChat that involves you. The photo will have a negative influence on your social relationships (i.e., you were doing something in the photo that might hurt some of your social relations).

A close friend [acquaintance] shares a photo on WeChat that involves you. The photo contains your sensitive personal information (i.e., your address, your family member’s information, etc.).

A close friend [acquaintance] shares a photo on WeChat that involves you. The photo includes you and a crowd of other people.

  1. 1.

    Who do you feel is OK to see this photo?

    • No one can see it

    • Only you and the person who shares this photo

    • Your mutual Facebook friend with this person

    • This person’s Facebook friends that you do not know

    • Your employer

    • Your teacher

    • Public

  1. 2.

    Please select how you feel about the photo sharing:

    • Extremely acceptable

    • Somewhat acceptable

    • Neither acceptable nor unacceptable

    • Somewhat unacceptable

    • Extremely unacceptable

Fig. 2
figure 2

DHARMa residual diagnostics for GLMM model

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Li, Y., Gui, X. Examining Co-Owners’ Privacy Consideration in Collaborative Photo Sharing. Comput Supported Coop Work 31, 79–109 (2022).

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  • Privacy
  • Collaborative photo sharing
  • Social media
  • Culture