Theses Master's

Social-Psychological Aspects of Privacy and Self-Disclosure on the Hinge Dating App Profile

Li, Elizabeth

Mobile dating applications or “apps,” which require users to self-disclose personal information to large and unknown audiences, complicate Irwin Altman's foundational definition of privacy as an interpersonal boundary regulation process. Despite the clear privacy risks of disclosing, dating apps like Hinge are rapidly growing in a social world transformed by COVID-19.

In the absence of strong audience cues and privacy-preserving features, the information users decide to share about themselves plays a crucial role in negotiating interpersonal boundary regulation within the context of a dating app profile. Although users maintain some agency over the information they make accessible, these decisions can be impacted by social-psychological heuristics that exert influence over what and how much information users decide to self-disclose.

This study considers how Hinge users’ self-disclosures are influenced by the technological artifact they interface with and the social environment they engage within. Leveraging Robert Cialdini’s conceptualizations of persuasion and social norms, the researcher conducted a multi- method study to investigate how Hinge’s sociotechnical context can influence self-disclosure.

The findings from the app walkthrough study reveal that Hinge’s marketing and design leverages persuasion tactics that can impact the quantity and quality of self-disclosure. The findings from the surveys and interviews show that users build their profiles in the face of various social norms that can also affect the quantity and quality of self-disclosure.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Bellovin, Steven Michael
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
March 8, 2023