How are people enticed to disclose personal information despite privacy concerns in social network sites? The calculus between benefit and cost



Although social network sites (SNS) users' privacy concerns cannot be completely removed by privacy policies and security safeguards, the user base of SNS is constantly expanding. To explain this phenomenon, we use the lens of the calculus of behavior within a cost–benefit framework suggesting privacy concerns as cost factors and behavior enticements as benefit factors and examine how the enticements operate against privacy concerns in users' cost–benefit calculus regarding disclosing personal information and using SNS continuously. Adopting social influence process theory, we examine three enticements—the motivation of relationship management through SNS, the perceived usefulness of SNS for self-presentation, and the subjective social norms of using SNS. From a survey of 362 Facebook users who have disclosed personal information on Facebook, we find that the motivation of relationship management through SNS and the perceived usefulness of SNS for self-presentation lead users to disclose information but that subjective social norms do not, suggesting that the perceived benefit of behavior enticements should be assimilated into users' own value systems to truly operate as benefit factors. The results regarding the positive and negative effects of suggested benefit and cost factors on information disclosure show that only the combined positive effects of all three behavior enticements exceed the negative effect of privacy concerns, suggesting that privacy concerns can be offset only by multiple benefit factors.