"We are the product": Public reactions to online data sharing and privacy Controversies in the media

Casey Fiesler, Blake Hallinan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

56 Scopus citations


As online platforms increasingly collect large amounts of data about their users, there has been growing public concern about privacy around issues such as data sharing. Controversies around practices perceived as surprising or even unethical often highlight patterns of privacy attitudes when they spark conversation in the media. This paper examines public reaction "in the wild" to two data sharing controversies that were the focus of media attention-regarding the social media and communication services Facebook and WhatsApp, as well as the email service unroll.me. These controversies instigated discussion of data privacy and ethics, accessibility of website policies, notions of responsibility for privacy, cost-benefit analyses, and strategies for privacy management such as non-use. An analysis of reactions and interactions captured by comments on news articles not only reveals information about pervasive privacy attitudes, but also suggests communication and design strategies that could benefit both platforms and users.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCHI 2018 - Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationEngage with CHI
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450356206, 9781450356213
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).


  • Data
  • Data sharing
  • Ethics
  • Journalism
  • Non-use
  • Online comments
  • Online platforms
  • Policy
  • Privacy
  • Social media
  • Terms of service

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