Online Social Media (OSM) websites have attracted millions of users by enabling them to socially interact in ways that were not possible before. While the explosion of OSM use has had many benefits, it also has a darker side where an individual's personal information can potentially be misused. This study develops and tests an empirical model based on a theoretical lens provided by Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) to examine the salient factors that influence an individual's perceptions of threat and their intention to use OSM websites. We investigate this model with a data set representing survey responses from 197 OSM users. Results suggest that rewards, which are largely overlooked in the IS PMT literature, are the primary influence in the perceived threat calculation in the OSM context. In addition, social influence was found to significantly influence behavioral intentions to share information on OSM websites.
Banks, M. Shane; Onita, Colin G.; and Meservy, Thomas O., "Risky Behavior in Online Social Media: Protection Motivation and Social Influence" (2010). AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. 372.