Does more accessibility lead to more disclosure? Exploring the influence of information accessibility on self-disclosure in online social networks

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Journal / PublicationInformation Technology & People
StateAccepted/In press/Filed - 28 Jul 2018


Purpose – Given the importance of online social network (OSN) media features, many studies have focused on how different types of OSNs with various media features influence users’ usage and engagement. However, a recent literature review indicates that few empirical studies have considered how different types of OSNs with different information accessibility levels influence users’ beliefs and self-disclosure. By comparing two OSN platforms (OSNs with high-level information accessibility vs OSNs with low-level information accessibility), the purpose of this paper is to address this opportunity by investigating the differential impacts of the two platforms on individuals’ psychological cognition – particularly users’ social
exchange beliefs – and explaining how these beliefs translate into OSN self-disclosure.
Design/methodology/approach – This study used a factorial design approach in an experimental setting to examine how different levels of information accessibility (high vs low), influence the social exchange beliefs (i.e. perceived social capital bridging, perceived social capital bonding and perceived privacy risks) of OSN users and subsequently influence OSN self-disclosure.
Findings – The results show that users on OSNs with high-level information accessibility express significantly higher  perceived social capital bridging and perceived privacy risks than users on OSNs with low-level information accessibility. However, users on OSNs with low-level information accessibility express higher social bonding beliefs than users on OSNs with high-level information accessibility, indicating that there are different effect mechanisms toward OSN self-disclosure.
Originality/value – The focus of this research helps unveil the complex relationships between OSN design features (e.g. information accessibility), psychological cognition (e.g. social capital bridging, social capital bonding and privacy risks) and OSN self-disclosure. First, it clarifies the relationship between information accessibility and self-disclosure by examining the mediating effect of three core social exchange beliefs. Second, it uncovers the distinct effects of high-level information-accessible OSNs and low-level information-accessible OSNs on OSN self-disclosure.

Research Area(s)

  • Self-disclosure, Online social network (OSN, Information accessibility, Social exchange beliefs

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