Analysis of Information Disclosure on a Social Networking Site

  • Katherine Peterson
  • Katie A. Siek
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5621)


We present a small study about information disclosure and awareness of disclosure implications on Couchsurfing is an online social networking site where users connect with others interested in traveling and staying at each other’s homes. Since users are looking for someone to stay or travel with, they must develop a rapport and trust before traveling. This leads users to share more information on their Couchsurfing profile than they ordinarily would share on mainstream social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. After a survey with twenty Couchsurfing users and semi-structured interviews with nine participants, we found participants were generally not concerned with the information they disclosed online and were not aware of how this information could be used against them by malicious third parties. We conclude the paper with a brief discussion of how designers and developers could utilize personas to better inform participants of the implications of their disclosure decisions.


Social Networking Information Disclosure Privacy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Peterson
    • 1
  • Katie A. Siek
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Mathematics, 526 UCBUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science, 430 UCBUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

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