Article

A Review of Facebook Research in the Social Sciences

Perspectives on Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.89). 05/2012; 7(3):203-220. DOI: 10.1177/1745691612442904

ABSTRACT

With over 800 million active users, Facebook is changing the way hundreds of millions of people relate to one another and share information. A rapidly growing body of research has accompanied the meteoric rise of Facebook as social scientists assess the impact of Facebook on social life. In addition, researchers have recognized the utility of Facebook as a novel tool to observe behavior in a naturalistic setting, test hypotheses, and recruit participants. However, research on Facebook emanates from a wide variety of disciplines, with results being published in a broad range of journals and conference proceedings, making it difficult to keep track of various findings. And because Facebook is a relatively recent phenomenon, uncertainty still exists about the most effective ways to do Facebook research. To address these issues, the authors conducted a comprehensive literature search, identifying 412 relevant articles, which were sorted into 5 categories: descriptive analysis of users, motivations for using Facebook, identity presentation, the role of Facebook in social interactions, and privacy and information disclosure. The literature review serves as the foundation from which to assess current findings and offer recommendations to the field for future research on Facebook and online social networks more broadly.
© The Author(s) 2012.

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    • "In several of articles reviewed by Wilson et al. (2012)motivation for using Facebook was a key area of investigation. For instance, Park et al. (2009) indicated four reasons for using Facebook: socializing, entertainment , self-status seeking, and information seeking. "
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    • "Though the limited number (n = 30) of respondents and single institutional source from which participants were sampled significantly restrict the generalisability of the findings, the study nevertheless provides the foundations for a crucial albeit tentative -discussion of the empirical study of social media research ethics. Indeed, reflecting the apparent rise in academic research involving social media[19,20], the study found evidence indicating that most respondents had reviewed an SMRE proposal, whether submitted by undergraduates and postgraduates under their supervision, or as a member of their school's research ethics committee (REC). "

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    • "Therefore, in this research profile disclosure is examined to understand its antecedents so that individuals can still safety disclose information without the possibility of a privacy breach, and so that businesses can understand what is important to users in order to allay their fears. Much of the research in this realm is survey based and has been studying user behaviour in order to catalogue privacy, disclosure, user motivations, as well as, their impacts on relationships (Wilson et al., 2012). Some theories that have been used to explain information privacy and disclosure include privacy calculus, expectancy value theories, and social contact theories (see Li (2012) for a review). "
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    ABSTRACT: The magnitude of information shared on online social networks (OSN), such as Facebook, and their exponential growth brings to light the importance of understanding individual’s profile disclosure. Encouraging disclosure is crucial for OSN to succeed as a business model, i.e., by using OSN as an advertising platform. A model was built making use of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) augmented by the ABC model of attitude, to investigate the affective, behavioural, and cognitive antecedents to attitude. To validate the model a survey was conducted, and the results were analysed with SmartPLS. Privacy risk, benefits, OSN trust, interpersonal trust, and OSN use were all found to significantly impact attitude, while attitude, social influence, and control all significantly impact profile disclosure. This research successfully applies TPB, and shows the value of including affective, behaviour, and cognitive antecedents in the OSN context. It also uniquely operationalises benefits, as well as, trust.
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Questions & Answers about this publication

  • Christoph Lutz added an answer in Media Policy:
    What is the influence of Social Networking Platforms on Socio-cultural aspects of society?

    Explosion of various social networking sites and time spent by youths on such Platforms is increasing day by day. The influence of such social media on policy making is visible by meetings between head of states and ceo's of these companies.We have facilities for searching food,restaurants, hotels,groceries, and friends to life partner to new jobs etc etc

    If there is any research done on such influences on society at large? Please share any such info or publications?

    Regards

    Christoph Lutz

    There is a lot of research on that topic, especially in new media and Internet journals, such as:

    - New Media & Society (http://nms.sagepub.com/)

    - Information, Communication & Society (http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rics20)

    - Social Media + Society (http://sms.sagepub.com/)

    - Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1083-6101)

    - First Monday (http://firstmonday.org/index)

    - Convergence (http://con.sagepub.com/)

    - Journal of Broadcassting & Eletronic Media (http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hbem20)

    - Mobile Media & Communication (http://mmc.sagepub.com/)

    - The Information Society (http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/utis20/current)

    - TripleC (http://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC)

    It's very hard to generalize how social networking platforms affect socio-cultural aspects of society but a couple of literature reviews have been performed that might give an overview and some insights. 

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      [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
      ABSTRACT: With over 800 million active users, Facebook is changing the way hundreds of millions of people relate to one another and share information. A rapidly growing body of research has accompanied the meteoric rise of Facebook as social scientists assess the impact of Facebook on social life. In addition, researchers have recognized the utility of Facebook as a novel tool to observe behavior in a naturalistic setting, test hypotheses, and recruit participants. However, research on Facebook emanates from a wide variety of disciplines, with results being published in a broad range of journals and conference proceedings, making it difficult to keep track of various findings. And because Facebook is a relatively recent phenomenon, uncertainty still exists about the most effective ways to do Facebook research. To address these issues, the authors conducted a comprehensive literature search, identifying 412 relevant articles, which were sorted into 5 categories: descriptive analysis of users, motivations for using Facebook, identity presentation, the role of Facebook in social interactions, and privacy and information disclosure. The literature review serves as the foundation from which to assess current findings and offer recommendations to the field for future research on Facebook and online social networks more broadly. © The Author(s) 2012.
      Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Perspectives on Psychological Science

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