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ABSTRACT: One of the most interesting features of social media sites is that they provide both private and public contexts in which to share messages. Studies have suggested that people perceive interpersonal messages differently based on this characteristic, but less is known about how people may intend to respond to messages based on their access exclusivity. Building upon a previous study in this area, the current study examined people’s responses to a hypothetical situation in which they received a negative interpersonal disclosure of varying intensity either publicly or privately through Facebook. Data suggest that privately-disclosed messages elicited more uncertainty and more uncertainty reduction behaviors. Publicly-disclosed messages caused recipients to feel more offended about the content, express privacy violation concerns, and delete the offending content. These findings are discussed for their theoretical value, and limitations and directions for future research are as well.
Goldman, Z., Bowman, N. D., & Westerman, D. (2013, April).“You need to back off:” Utilizing communication privacy management theory to explore responses to public and private interpersonal disclosures on Facebook. Paper presented at the Broadcast Education Association Research Symposium “Media and Social Life: The Self, Relationships, and Society,” Las Vegas.