Spottswood, E. & Hancock, J.T. (2017). Should I Share That? Prompting Social Norms That Influence Privacy Behaviors on a Social Networking Site. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 65:252-259.


This study examines how explicit and implicit cues to social norms affect disclosure and privacy decisions in a Social Network Site (SNS) context. Study 1 revealed that participants’ disclosure behavior adhered to explicit cues indicating disclosure frequency norms, while implicit social norm cues (i.e., surveillance primes) acted to increase overall disclosure frequency and affect disclosure accuracy when explicit cues discourage disclosure. Study 2 explored how these cues affected privacy-setting decisions and found that explicit cues indicating others’ privacy settings could increase how strictly participants set their privacy settings, but the implicit cues had no effect. These results suggest that explicit cues about SNS norms can trigger bandwagon heuristic processing, and that, under limited circumstances, surveillance primes can affect self-disclosure.