Digital Inequality Through the Lens of Self-Disclosure

Authors: Jooyoung Lee (Pennsylvania State University), Sarah Rajtmajer (Pennsylvania State University), Eesha Srivatsavaya (Pennsylvania State University), Shomir Wilson (Pennsylvania State University)

Volume: 2021
Issue: 3
Pages: 373–393
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/popets-2021-0052

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Abstract: Recent work has brought to light disparities in privacy-related concerns based on socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity. This paper examines relationships between U.S. based Twitter users’ socio-demographic characteristics and their privacy behaviors. Income, gender, age, race/ethnicity, education level and occupation are correlated with stated and observed privacy preferences of 110 active Twitter users. Contrary to our expectations, analyses suggest that neither socioeconomic status (SES) nor demographics is a significant predictor of the use of account security features. We do find that gender and education predict rate of self-disclosure, or voluntary sharing of personal information. We explore variability in the types of information disclosed amongst socio-demographic groups. Exploratory findings indicate that: 1) participants shared less personal information than they recall having shared in exit surveys; 2) there is no strong correlation between people’s stated attitudes and their observed behaviors.

Keywords: Digital Inequality, Personal Data, Online Social Network, Socioeconomic Status, Online SelfDisclosure

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