Sharing the ‘Real Me’ – How Usage Motivation and Personality Relate to Privacy Protection Behavior on Facebook

  • Nina GerberEmail author
  • Paul Gerber
  • Maria Hernando
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10292)


Although social networks like Facebook have become an important part of social communication and daily life for many people, most users have concerns regarding their privacy on Facebook. In order to gain a deeper understanding of how users try to protect their private data on Facebook, we conducted an online survey with 280 German Facebook users. We used regression analyses to investigate if usage motivation and personality relate to the management of privacy settings as well as the deployment of other protection strategies in Facebook, such as blocking certain contacts or deleting a post or photo/video tag. Our results showed that Facebook users with rather lax privacy settings have a greater feeling of being meaningful and stimulated when using Facebook than users with rather strict privacy settings. Furthermore, Facebook users scoring high on extraversion and low on agreeableness tend to use more other protection strategies besides the management of privacy settings. However, no association could be found between usage motivation and the deployment of other protection strategies on the one hand, and between personality and the management of privacy settings on the other hand. The results indicate that it is important for privacy researchers as well as product and privacy intervention designers to consider the user’s motivation to share personal data, because only if privacy studies and interventions account for this important factor, it is possible not only to gain a complete picture of the privacy behavior of users, but also to influence it.


Facebook Needs Personality Privacy Privacy protection strategies Privacy settings Social network services Usage motivation 



The research reported in this paper has been supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within MoPPa.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Human SciencesTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Computer SciencesTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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