Privacy and pleasure: A paradox of the hedonic use of computer-mediated social networks


Despite legitimate privacy concerns regarding their use, hundreds of millions of people still visit online social network sites every day. Although people state that they are concerned about their privacy, they engage in online behaviors that are contrary to this stated belief. This study draws from social capital and social exchange theories to provide a hedonic explanation for this seemingly contradictory stated beliefs and actual behavior. This study proposes that the enjoyment derived from computer-mediated social network (CMSN) sites serves as an incentive for individuals to ignore privacy concerns. Results of our study help explain how people exchange their privacy concerns for hedonic benefits. We found that the enjoyment derived from this social exchange is sufficient to override users' privacy concerns. This reduction in privacy concerns is proposed to explain continued use of online social networks.

Document Type





Computer-mediated social networks, Hedonic information systems, Information privacy, Social capital, Social exchange theory

Publication Date


Journal Title

Computers in Human Behavior