Self-disclosure, Privacy and the Internet

Adam N. Joinson and Carina B. Paine

in Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199561803
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743771 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Self-disclosure, Privacy and the Internet

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  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article examines the extant research literature on self-disclosure and the Internet, in particular by focusing on disclosure in computer-mediated communication and web-based forms – both in surveys and in e-commerce applications. It also considers the links between privacy and self-disclosure, and the unique challenges (and opportunities) that the Internet poses for the protection of privacy. Finally, the article proposes three critical issues that unite the ways in which we can best understand the links between privacy, self-disclosure, and new technology: trust and vulnerability, costs and benefits, and control over personal information. Central to the discussion is the notion that self-disclosure is not simply the outcome of a communication encounter: rather, it is both a product and process of interaction, as well as a way of regulating interaction dynamically. By adopting a privacy approach to understanding disclosure online, it becomes possible to consider not only media effects that encourage disclosure, but also the wider context and implications of such communicative behaviours.

Keywords: computer-mediated communication; web surveys; e-commerce; online interaction; online disclosure; online communication; online behaviour

Article.  10572 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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