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Online Trust : An Investigation into the Privacy Attitudes and Awareness of Social Network Users in Ireland

Greene, Patricia (2013) Online Trust : An Investigation into the Privacy Attitudes and Awareness of Social Network Users in Ireland. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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The evolution of the internet has established new ways for people to communicate online in the form of social networking websites. In the last number of years, social networking has become a worldwide phenomenon. However, these advances in technology have brought with them many ethical issues surrounding consumer privacy. The purpose of this research is to investigate the level of trust in social networking websites among Irish users and to examine if they are aware of how these websites use their personal information.

Drawing on theoretical concepts identified in the literature, the researcher developed and tested a conceptual framework of trust and privacy in social networking websites. Data was collected by means of a web-based questionnaire adapted from a similar study in Finland. The questionnaire was piloted and distributed to a sample of Irish social network users. A total of 150 responses were collected and this data was then analysed using SPSS software.

The findings show that there is a lack of trust among Irish users in the social networking websites with older users less trusting than their younger counterparts. Although users had not read the privacy policy or terms of use, awareness of how their data is shared by social networking websites is high in comparison with previous studies. Despite these privacy concerns, social network users are disclosing vast amounts of personal information on their profile to a large number of people; some of whom they do not know. These results suggest that unlike e-commerce websites, trust is not a necessary requirement for people to actively use social networking websites as users are increasingly willing to trade their privacy for social interaction.

Research limitations mean that generalisations cannot be made on the total population of Irish social network users; however findings show that further research on this topic is required.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Marketing > Consumer Behaviour
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4150 Computer Network Resources > The Internet > World Wide Web > Websites > Online social networks
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering > Telecommunications > The Internet > World Wide Web > Websites > Online social networks
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Business Administration
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2013 18:20
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2013 18:21

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