Facebook and Privacy: The Balancing Act of Personality, Gender, and Relationship Currency
Social media profiles are telling examples of the everyday need for disclosure and concealment. The balance between concealment and disclosure varies across individuals, and personality traits might partly explain this variability. Experimental findings on the relationship between information disclosure and personality have been so far inconsistent. We thus study this relationship anew with 1,313 Facebook users in the United States using two personality tests: the big five personality test and the self-monitoring test. We model the process of information disclosure in a principled way using Item Response Theory and correlate the resulting user disclosure scores with personality traits. We find a correlation with the trait of Openness and observe gender effects, in that, men and women share equal amount of private information, but men tend to make it more publicly available, well beyond their social circles. Interestingly, geographic (e.g., residence, hometown) and work-related information is used as relationship currency, in that, it is selectively shared with social contacts and is rarely shared with the Facebook community at large.