The Next Digital Divide: Online Social Network Privacy
By Dr. Tony Hernandez, Avner Levin, Mary Foster, Bettina West, Mary Jo Nicholson, and Wendy Cukier
Privacy issues are increasingly impacting the way in which goods and services are marketed, advertised and consumed. These range from concerns over how consumers are targeted and profiled, the way in which behaviours are tracked, to the use of information technologies within the retail workplace. This report continues the CSCA's privacy research series by reporting findings of a major survey of the use of online social networks (OSN) by young Canadians (our next generation of consumers). As the title suggests the report reveals a 'digital divide' (or technology gap) in the adoption and usage of OSN tools (such as Facebook). Through focus groups, surveys and interviews with key stakeholders, the report explores a myriad of issues surrounding OSN usage. With the growth in OSN users worldwide (e.g., Canada is currently ranked third in terms of the total number of Facebook users), the findings highlight how young consumers integrate OSN activities within their daily lives and explores their level of awareness and concern with regard to the privacy of information posted online. Fundamentally, the report provides a glimpse into the technologically-enabled social environments in which young Canadians reside.