Journal of Information Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 109–125 | Cite as

Online social networks: why we disclose

  • Hanna KrasnovaEmail author
  • Sarah Spiekermann
  • Ksenia Koroleva
  • Thomas Hildebrand
Research Article


On online social networks such as Facebook, massive self-disclosure by users has attracted the attention of industry players and policymakers worldwide. Despite the impressive scope of this phenomenon, very little is understood about what motivates users to disclose personal information. Integrating focus group results into a theoretical privacy calculus framework, we develop and empirically test a Structural Equation Model of self-disclosure with 259 subjects. We find that users are primarily motivated to disclose information because of the convenience of maintaining and developing relationships and platform enjoyment. Countervailing these benefits, privacy risks represent a critical barrier to information disclosure. However, users’ perception of risk can be mitigated by their trust in the network provider and availability of control options. Based on these findings, we offer recommendations for network providers.


online social networks online communities motivation privacy information disclosure structural equation modeling 


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Copyright information

© Association for Information Technology Trust 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanna Krasnova
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah Spiekermann
    • 2
  • Ksenia Koroleva
    • 1
  • Thomas Hildebrand
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Information Systems, Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Management Information Systems, Vienna University of Economics and BusinessViennaAustria
  3. 3.European School of Management and TechnologyBerlinGermany

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