This paper tests a privacy calculus model for Facebook users. Privacy calculus means that individuals weigh a complex set of factors—including both costs and benefits—to decide whether to disclose personal information. Because information disclosure is closely related to use for many information technologies (IT), our privacy calculus model proposes that costs and benefits of user privacy will simultaneously influence users’ information disclosure and usage continuance intention. Based on past research, our model includes as ‘costs’ privacy concern and information sensitivity, while it includes as ‘benefits’ perceived usefulness, enjoyment, and trust. In a sample of business college students’ use of a social networking website, we find that the privacy calculus model is not well-supported. The benefits do not positively affect information disclosure; only the two cost factors, privacy concern and information sensitivity, predict it. Thus, our findings do not support the privacy calculus model theory that users will weigh costs against benefits in determining whether to disclose information on a social networking website. We also find two benefit factors, usefulness and enjoyment, are the sole predictors of Facebook usage continuance intention. That is, information sensitivity, trust, and privacy concern do not predict continuance. Overall, the study finds that one set of factors influence information disclosure while a separate set of factors influence continuance intention. That is, the predictors of continuance intention are completely different from the predictors of information disclosure. This means, surprisingly, that these users display a clear disconnect between their reasons to disclose information on Facebook and their reasons to continue using Facebook.
McKnight, D. H., Lankton, N., & Tripp, J. (2011, January). Social networking information disclosure and continuance intention: A disconnect. Paper presented at the 44th Hawaii International Conference On System Sciences, in Manoa, HI.