Companies collect and process media users’ personal data for automated decision-making or personalized communication. When individuals perceive corporate surveillance, it could contribute to their self-censorship practices, such as using less media or using media differently. This study aims to understand why people decide to self-regulate their media use, which is important from the perspective of control that individuals have over data collection. Therefore, we studied what would motivate individuals to change their media-related behavior in response to perceived corporate surveillance, focusing on cross-country and generational differences. This study employed a combination of a thought-listing exercise conducted in the Netherlands (N = 300) and a cross-sectional survey in the United States (N = 148) and the Netherlands (N = 156) in which respondents were presented with a scenario regarding corporate surveillance and asked about their motivations (not) to change their media use. The studies showed that privacy was a more important motivation for the intent to change media use in the United States, while in the Netherlands people were less motivated to change due to seeing less potential harm of corporate surveillance. The results could be explained by cultural differences or differences in legal protection. Finally, older people saw less threats and were less able to protect themselves, while younger individuals were not motivated to make changes to their media use because of mobile device dependency. This indicates that while more is needed to help people make informed decisions, empowerment measures should be adjusted to different generations and locations.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors
- Chilling effects
- Perceived surveillance
- Privacy protection