Saving face on Facebook: privacy concerns, social benefits, and impression management

Jeffrey G. Proudfoot, David Wilson, Joseph S. Valacich, Michael D. Byrd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The nearly ubiquitous use of online social networks generally entails substantial personal disclosure and elicits significant privacy concerns. This research uses Social Exchange Theory and the impression management (IM) literature to examine how privacy concerns can be counterbalanced by the perceived social benefits afforded by a social network’s ability to support IM. We frame social network use as an attempt to engage in IM, and we highlight the importance of a social network’s IM affordances in predicting social benefits from, and disclosure through, a social network. We test our model with a sample of 244 Facebook users, finding support for the proposed relationships and yielding the following contributions. First, this research provides a novel positioning of perceived IM affordances as a primary driver of both perceived social benefits and IM disclosure propensity. Second, this research illuminates that trust in both the social network provider and social network peers influences privacy concerns, social benefits, and perceived IM affordances. Our theory has important implications for researchers and practitioners interested in privacy issues within social networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-37
Number of pages22
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018


  • Impression management
  • privacy
  • social exchange theory
  • social media
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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