User concerns regarding information sharing on social networking sites: The user’s perspective in the context of national culture

Ibrahim Mutambik, John Lee, Abdullah Almuqrin, Waleed Halboob, Taha Omar, Ahmad Floos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Information sharing via social networking systems (SNS) is a common practice among academics, as well as others, that brings substantial benefits. At the same time, privacy concerns are widespread among SNS users, which may tend to inhibit their maximising the benefit from using the systems. This paper investigates the proposition that SNS user attitudes and behaviour are affected by privacy concerns, and that the effects are subject to significant cultural factors. A broad assessment of the literature provides the context for the study. Working in the context of Saudi Arabia, we apply a mixed-methods approach beginning with in-depth interviews, exposing in detail a range of views and concerns about privacy and SNS use, also allowing us to identify three key factors that bear on SNS usage and users’ concerns. Analysis of these factors in the light of the “theory of reasoned action” derives a structural model predicting several hypotheses relating the factors and users’ attitudes and behaviour. We assess the model through development of a questionnaire, administered to a large pool of academic participants, that allows us to examine how the model responds in general, and via multigroup partial least squares analyses, differentially to gender and to culturally distinct (Arab vs. non-Arab) constituents of the participant group. Results show good support for the hypotheses and clear gender and culture effects. Picking up issues from the interviews, discussion focuses on users’ views about SNS providers’ privacy policies and their inadequacy regarding culturally specific ethical concerns. We argue that these views may reflect different regulatory environments in combination with other cultural factors.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0263157
Number of pages27
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022


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