Privacy matters: reexamining internet privacy concern among social media users in a cross-cultural setting

Bu Zhong, Tao Sun, Yu Zhou*, Lola Xie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As internet privacy concern (IPC) keeps spiking, it is imperative to reexamine privacy concern among social media users in a cross-cultural context. Using the purposive sampling method, this study recruited 1,340 social media users aged 18–82 in the United State and China. It integrates medium theory and cultural perspectives to study IPC by analyzing the technological antecedents of social media use among young users who grew up with social media and their “digital immigrant” parents who did not. U.S. and Chinese respondents were concerned about IPC regardless of their genders. Young people reported a lower IPC level than elder users. IPC was negatively related to social media power use, but not to social media habitual use. Some cultural differences were revealed. Among those aged 18–25, U.S. users had significantly lower IPC than their Chinese counterparts. In those aged 50+, little difference concerning IPC existed between U.S. and Chinese users. This study represents the first attempt of integrating both technology and cultural perspectives to examine internet privacy concern. The findings, including one’s cultural background moderating the association between social media power use and IPC, should contribute to a better understanding of privacy concerns in a cross-cultural setting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAtlantic Journal of Communication
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication

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