Predicting users’ privacy boundary management strategies on Facebook

Qian Liu, Mike Z. Yao, Ming Yang, Caixie Tu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the process by which Facebook users regulate their interpersonal privacy and information sharing. By tracing the influence of gender, Facebook usage, and privacy-protecting behaviors that are determined by knowledge and attitude, this research identifies a dynamic management process through which Facebook users maintain personal and interpersonal boundaries. Two distinct strategies are used–a privacy-setting control and a self-disclosure control. Based on data collected in a survey of 432 college students conducted in Hong Kong, our results suggest that different uses of Facebook activities (i.e., social interaction, social browsing, and entertainment) can be used to predict different boundary management strategies. Gender and privacy-related psychological factors (i.e., privacy literacy and concern about privacy) also showed significant effects. We concluded that the privacy setting options available on social networking sites such as Facebook were useful in providing users with a base point and a psychological sense of security, but they had little influence on the actual patterns of self-disclosure. To regulate their privacy boundaries, users were more likely to rely on frequently changing their privacy settings and on controlling their levels of self-disclosure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-311
Number of pages17
JournalChinese Journal of Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017


  • Facebook
  • Facebook usage
  • Online privacy
  • privacy boundary
  • self-disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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