In a fascinating article in The Guardian titled “Facebook should compete on privacy, not hide it away, ” noted security expert Bruce Schneier argues that social networking sites with fairly robust privacy policies (like Facebook) should use it to their competitive advantage, rather than burying the details deep in the sites. Schneier describes the findings of a recent study at Carnegie Mellon ((Read the original paper: “The Best of Strangers: Context Dependent Willingness to Divulge Personal Information.”
Citation: John, L., Acquisti, A., Loewenstein, G. (2009, July 6). The Best of Strangers: Context Dependent Willingness to Divulge Personal Information. Social Science Research Network. Retrieved August 17, 2009 from ssrn.com: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1430482.)) about perceptions of online privacy like this:
The social networking sites don’t want to remind users about privacy, even if they talk about it positively, because any reminder will result in users remembering their privacy fears and becoming more cautious about sharing personal data. But the sites also need to reassure those “privacy fundamentalists” for whom privacy is always salient, so they have very strong pro-privacy rhetoric for those who take the time to search them out. The two different marketing messages are for two different audiences.