Fortier, Alexandre, & Jacquelyn A. Burkell (2016, November). Display and control in online social spaces: Towards a typology of users. New Media & Society, 20(3), 845-861. (doi: 10.1177/1461444816675184) (Link:

Abstract: Earlier research using qualitative techniques suggests that the default conception of online social networks is as public spaces with little or no expectation of control over content or distribution of profile information. Some research, however, suggests that users within these spaces have different perspectives on information control and distribution. This study uses Q methodology to investigate subjective perspectives with respect to privacy of, and control over, Facebook profiles. The results suggests three different types of social media users: those who view profiles as spaces for controlled social display, exerting control over content or audience; those who treat their profiles as spaces for open social display, exercising little control over either content or audience; and those who view profiles as places to post personal information to a controlled audience. We argue that these different perspectives lead to different privacy needs and expectations.

Alexandre Fortier <> is in the School of Information Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Jacquelyn A Burkell <> is on the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, Canada.