Privacy Paradox or Privacy Apathy? Exploring the Relationship between Social Media Usage and Public Opinion on Government Usage of Data Collection Programs


social media
public opinion
data collection
government usage


The prominence of social media as a mechanism for global communication has raised questions regarding its integrity and security of personal information identifiers such as name, address, and location history. The rise of government surveillance programs, such as those Edward Snowden exposed in 2013, are a case study in mass collection of identifying personal information without the consent of the American public. This paper looks to determine if there is a causal relationship between social media usage and negative opinions regarding mass personal identifying information government collection programs within the United States. Using data compiled by the Pew Research Center, I found that there was no statistically significant relationship at all. This has powerful policy implications such as the normalization of the surveillance state. Further research is needed to address concerns regarding the broad variables used as part of this paper.
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