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Optimizing transparency for users in social networking sites

Optimizing transparency for users in social networking sites Purpose – This article aims to reflect on possible ways to optimise current ways to deliver information provision to make it more transparent to users. In particular, this article will refer to the benefits (and challenges) of using more user-centred approaches to inform users in a more transparent way. Design/methodology/approach – In this paper we analyse individual, as well as contextual factors (e.g. cognitive differences, time constraints, specific features of social networking sites (SNS) platforms) which may have an impact on the way users deal with Terms of Use, privacy policies and other types of information provision typically made available on SNS platforms. In addition, possible ways of improving current practices in the field are discussed. In particular, the benefits (and challenges) of a user-centred approach have been referred to when it comes to informing users in a way that is more meaningful to them. Finally, it is discussed how user-centred approaches can act as mechanisms to increase transparency in SNS environments and how (alternative) forms of regulation could benefit from such an approach. Findings – The authors believe that it is necessary to start focussing on users/consumers’ needs, expectations and values to develop visualisation tools that can help make law (more) meaningful to users/consumers by giving them a better insight into their rights and obligations and by guiding them in making truly informed decisions regarding their online choices and behaviour. Originality/value – By looking at different techniques such as visual design and the timing of information, the article contributes to the discussion on how people can be made more aware of legal documents and actually read them. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png info Emerald Publishing

Optimizing transparency for users in social networking sites

info , Volume 16 (6): 16 – Sep 2, 2014

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1463-6697
DOI
10.1108/info-06-2014-0026
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This article aims to reflect on possible ways to optimise current ways to deliver information provision to make it more transparent to users. In particular, this article will refer to the benefits (and challenges) of using more user-centred approaches to inform users in a more transparent way. Design/methodology/approach – In this paper we analyse individual, as well as contextual factors (e.g. cognitive differences, time constraints, specific features of social networking sites (SNS) platforms) which may have an impact on the way users deal with Terms of Use, privacy policies and other types of information provision typically made available on SNS platforms. In addition, possible ways of improving current practices in the field are discussed. In particular, the benefits (and challenges) of a user-centred approach have been referred to when it comes to informing users in a way that is more meaningful to them. Finally, it is discussed how user-centred approaches can act as mechanisms to increase transparency in SNS environments and how (alternative) forms of regulation could benefit from such an approach. Findings – The authors believe that it is necessary to start focussing on users/consumers’ needs, expectations and values to develop visualisation tools that can help make law (more) meaningful to users/consumers by giving them a better insight into their rights and obligations and by guiding them in making truly informed decisions regarding their online choices and behaviour. Originality/value – By looking at different techniques such as visual design and the timing of information, the article contributes to the discussion on how people can be made more aware of legal documents and actually read them.

Journal

infoEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 2, 2014

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