Paranoid androids: Facebook privacy, online reputation, and employment concerns of college seniors

Mario Rodriguez, University of Pennsylvania


The following study investigates the Facebook privacy beliefs and behaviors of college seniors as they approach the job market (or graduate school). The purpose is to understand how graduating college students strategically control what they reveal about themselves as they enter the work force, identifying those areas where they care about privacy and those where they do not. Specifically, this study investigates particular beliefs and behaviors related to certain kinds of users. We conducted 56 in-depth interviews with Philadelphia area college seniors, dividing them into eight groups according to three variables: gender, career path (business track or graduate track), and level of engagement (casual or engaged). Results showed that, while overall privacy settings had been increasing on Facebook during the past year, and while attitudes varied in subtle ways regarding personal information uploaded to Facebook, respondents were more preoccupied with the privacy of their pictures. Furthermore, respondents believed they had sufficiently protected Facebook privacy for the job search. Specifically, respondents believed they successfully avoided "extreme" political and religious speech. In conclusion, future studies should investigate privacy attitudes of young people toward commentary on Facebook, particularly with respect to political and racial paranoia, but also authenticity and the "digital self." Such inquiry holds significant implications for a free speech in a global society. ^

Subject Area

Speech Communication|Web Studies|Mass Communications

Recommended Citation

Rodriguez, Mario, "Paranoid androids: Facebook privacy, online reputation, and employment concerns of college seniors" (2011). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3500232.