Understanding Saudis' privacy concerns when using WhatsApp

Yasmeen Rashidi, Kami Vaniea, Jean L. Camp

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Managing privacy in mobile instant messaging is a challenge for designers and users alike. If too many options are provided, the privacy controls can become complex to understand and unwieldy to manipulate. Conversely, providing too few controls leaves users without the ability to adequately express their privacy preferences. Further complicating this, a new class of social networks has emerged where one person can add another without mutual consent (i.e. Tumbler, Twitter, and WhatsApp).We present a survey of 626 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Saudi)WhatsApp users to determine their privacy-related behaviors and opinions. We find that Saudi users were aware of the privacy settings and use them especially to limit the visibility of when they were last active. We also find that 83.9% of respondents had been contacted by a stranger through the application. Respondents wanted more control over their membership in groups and the resulting visibility of their private profile information such as phone numbers. We discuss the results in terms of prior privacy and interruptibility awareness literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUsable Security and Privacy (USEC) 2016
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2016
EventUsable Security and Privacy 2016 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 21 Feb 201621 Feb 2016


ConferenceUsable Security and Privacy 2016
Abbreviated titleUSEC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address


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