“Everything under control?”: Privacy control salience influences both critical processing and perceived persuasiveness of targeted advertising among adolescents



Given that adolescents continuously interact with the user interface of a social networking site, it might be a strategic place to address privacy-related issues. This study investigates whether and how privacy control features embedded in Facebook’s user interface could serve as a cue to influence adolescents in their critical processing and perceived persuasiveness of targeted advertisements. To test this, an experimental study among 178 adolescents aged 14-16 years was conducted. Results reveal that increasing privacy control salience by means of user interface elements leads to more critical processing of targeted advertising; at the same time, when adolescents perceive a higher privacy control, they also evaluate a targeted ad as more effective, convincing and reliable (i.e., increase in perceived persuasiveness). The study further identifies two underlying mechanisms by which these effects operate: perceived control and self-efficacy. Based on these findings, theoretical contributions and practical implications are discussed to optimize advertising campaigns on social networking sites in a responsible and privacy-protective way.

Advertising; privacy control; Facebook; critical processing; persuasion

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