Publication date: April 2019
Source: Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 93
Author(s): Sigal Tifferet
The purpose of this study was to assess the presence and magnitude of gender differences in privacy-seeking tendencies on social network sites (SNS). To do so, a meta-analytic approach was chosen. A literature review produced a sample of 61 effect sizes from 37 independent studies (N = 16,159,261). Results showed that females on social network sites displayed higher privacy concerns and behaviors than did males. The gender differences, while all pointing to females being more committed to enhancing privacy, were small and statistically heterogeneous. A clear gender difference was apparent for activating privacy settings (d = 0.35) and untagging photographs (d = 0.26), whereas privacy concerns (d = 0.13) and disclosure of personal information (d = 0.13) showed smaller gender differences. The findings are in line with both evolutionary and social role theories and may be explained by differences in personality, threat vulnerability, or SNS activity levels. Advocators of SNS privacy should target males as the more vulnerable segment to privacy breaches. Additional studies are needed to investigate the moderating effects of variables such as culture and age, and to clarify the basis of this gender difference.