The Masters theses season is almost drawing to its end. Tomorrow, Thursday, January 28, we will hear the last seminar. Tamir Mendel will present his Masters thesis, titled “Influencing Users’ Privacy Behavior in Online Social Networks”. The talk will take place at room 206, Wolfson building, at Tel Aviv University. Here is what the thesis is about:

Wrongful management of privacy in Online Social Networks (OSNs) can lead to unfavorable consequence, such as leakage of embarrassing information. In this talk, I will describe an experiment that investigates how the privacy norms of OSN users can be affected to promote privacy in OSNs. This notion is supported by evidence that shows users learn and teach each other constantly about privacy practices. I will then display a model that combines the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1988) and social network theories (Tie Strength Theory) to investigate how the source of a message with privacy practice content affects the perceived behavioral intention to adopt the privacy behavior. Our findings are based on an experiment (n=167) using a custom Facebook application that collects feedback from participants regarding their intention to adopt privacy practices from different types of sources. Our results show that when attitude to privacy settings is positive, close friends relations are more influential, but when attitude is negative, organizations fare similarly to strong and weak ties. Furthermore, the sophistication of privacy practices increases the intention to adopt positive privacy behavior. Finally, I will demonstrate how this research can be applied in practice by describing “Peteks”, a system that allows Web users to teach each other about privacy in online services.