Behavioral Contagion on Social Media: Effects of Social Norms, Design Interventions, and Critical Media Literacy on Self-disclosure
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Description: This research project aimed at investigating whether higher media literacy and subtle alterations of a social network site’s (SNS) architecture can promote more privacy-aware behavior. Prior research suggests that users of SNSs adapt to prevailing social norms. Many SNS users share intimate details of their life, thus promoting a social norm of sharing private information as an appropriate or even expected behavior. The goal of this research project is (1) to provide more fine-grained evidence for this mechanism and (2) to investigate whether critical and reflective abilities and subtle design interventions can mitigate the effects of prevailing social norms and thereby promote more privacy-aware behavior on SNSs. To this purpose, this project includes three studies: (1) a survey investigating the relationships between different types of norms and social media behavior (manuscript 1 is based on study 1), (2) an online-experiment analyzing in how far people can make meaningful inferences of prevailing norms based on screenshots of social media feeds, and (3) a multi-method experiment analyzing if participants who are exposed to different social norms on a website, adapt their disclosure behavior (manuscript 2 is based on study 2 and 3).