Online Platform Privacy Policies

An Exploration of Users’ Perceptions, Attitudes and Behaviours Online




social media, online privacy, consumer behaviour, WhatsApp


In January 2021, Meta (then Facebook) published an update to its WhatsApp privacy policy which included, among other things, a decision to share some user data with Facebook. This action, together with previous events like the notorious Cambridge-Analytica data breach, has sparked debates about the protection of online privacy, specifically the balance of rights and responsibilities relevant to the protection of social media user data. This qualitative study contributes to that debate by exploring the perceptions and reactions of South African WhatsApp users to these policy changes. The findings highlight the significance of platforms like WhatsApp in the daily socio-economic activities of users in developing countries. This reliance on social media for communication and access to vital information creates an imbalance of power between users and platform owners. The situation
is worsened by the lack of effective regulatory frameworks that governments and institutions in developing countries can use to enforce their privacy laws, leaving users vulnerable to potential exploitation from digital platforms. This study contributes to the broader discourse on safeguarding online privacy as Western technology companies continue to gain access to data that is generated by an ever-increasing global user base.


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How to Cite

Mugadza, K., & Mwalemba, G. (2023). Online Platform Privacy Policies: An Exploration of Users’ Perceptions, Attitudes and Behaviours Online. South African Computer Journal, 35(2).



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