Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Centered Computing

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Bart Knijnenburg

Committee Member

Dr. Kelly Caine

Committee Member

Dr. Nathan McNeese

Committee Member

Dr. Brygg Ullmer

Committee Member

Dr. Pamela J. Wisniewski


Several privacy scholars have advocated for user-tailored privacy (UTP). A privacy-enhancing adaptive privacy approach to help reconcile users' lack of awareness, privacy management skills and motivation to use available platform privacy features with their need for personalized privacy support in alignment with their privacy preferences. The idea behind UTP is to measure users' privacy characteristics and behaviors, use these measurements to create a personalized model of the user's privacy preferences, and then provide adaptive support to the user in navigating and engaging with the available privacy settings---or even implement certain settings automatically on the user's behalf. To this end, most existing work on UTP has focused on the "measurement'' and algorithmic "modeling'' aspect of UTP, however, with less emphasis on the "adaptation'' aspect. More specifically, limited research efforts have been devoted to the exploration of the presentation of privacy adaptations that align with user privacy preferences. The concept of "presentation'' goes beyond the visual characteristics of the adaptation: it can profoundly impact the required level of engagement with the system and the user's tendency to follow the suggested privacy adaptation.

This dissertation evaluates the potential of three adaptation presentation methods in supporting social media users to make "better'' privacy protection decisions. These three adaptation presentation methods include 1) automation that involves the automatic application of the privacy settings by the system without user input to alleviate them from having to make frequent privacy decisions; 2) highlights that emphasize certain privacy features to guide users to apply the settings themselves in a subtle but useful manner; and 3) suggestions that can explicitly inform users about the availability of certain settings that can be applied directly by the user. The first study focuses on understanding user perspectives on the different configurations of autonomy and control of the examined three privacy adaptation presentation methods. A second follow-up study examines the effectiveness of these adaptation presentation methods in improving user awareness and engagement with available privacy features. Taking into account social media users' privacy decision-making process (i.e., they often make privacy-related decisions), the final study assesses the impact of privacy-related affect and message framing (i.e., tone style) on users' privacy decisions in adaptation-supported social media environments. We offer insights and provide practical considerations towards the selection and use of "optimal'' privacy adaptation methods to provide user-tailored privacy decision support.

Author ORCID Identifier




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