Do people really care about online privacy

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Delete my account now!

I got a message from one of the users of Optimistnet ,the social network i started, who asked me to delete her account. I opened up that User's account but i found it already empty. The account had no posts, no picture and just a name.

When i told the user that the account is empty she insisted that i delete her account so out of curiosity i asked her why would she bother to remove her account from a social network for positivity where no private information about her whatsoever is present?

The user refused to give any reasons, responded harshly and insisted that the account gets removed. As a psychologist i became so curious.

After all some people might have very rational privacy concerns such as fear of exposing their private life to strangers or fear of letting their bosses know they are on the beach in their sick leaves.

But why would someone want to remove his name from a social network of motivational quotes?
Why do some people go lengths in demanding privacy changes then share more information than the ones they are trying to protect on Facebook and other social networks?

Do people really care about privacy?

Yes some people really care about privacy for logical reasons while others care about it for unconscious reasons that aren't by any means logical.

Alfred Adler the father of the Adlerian psychology said that all people want to feel superior in a way or another. Some people do this by achieving big goals while some revert to smaller less useful goals. A person can become the CEO of a company to feel superior or he can develop compulsive hand washing in order to unconsciously feel cleaner than everyone. (see also OCD psychology)

Some people care about their privacy because they want to assign themselves an exaggerated importance. By believing that so many people are out there to harm them and that stalkers are lining up to know more about them those people can get a fake self esteem boost.

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that when people fail to feel confident on the useful side of life they withdraw to less useful areas where they can still feel superior.

Paranoia is a psychological disorder that perfectly describes this concept. A person who wants to feel superior at ay cost can develop paranoia to achieve that goal. By believing that everyone out there is trying to get him that person can experience a powerful self esteem boost.

The subconscious mind is very smart that it sometimes uses disorders to help a person achieve important psychological goals. Because the subconscious mind believes that the cost of not achieving a certain goal is greater than the cost of developing a certain disorder it sometimes uses disorders to achieve certain goals.

My information is an extension to my personality

People also like to believe that their data is very valuable even when it's not because it's strongly connected to their identities. Humans have the tendency to over estimate the value of anything that belongs to them and the reason is very similar to the one described above.

By claiming that all his data is extremely important a person can get a self esteem boost because this data indirectly represents him. So how can a person tell if someone cares about privacy to achieve a certain psychological goal?

This isn't easy because people who want to achieve certain unconscious goals usually find reasons that seem logical then believe in them much. By doing so the real reasons are kept hidden and those people manage to maintain their psychological stability.

If you are way too concerned about your online privacy for no obvious reasons then you might want to examine your unconscious goals.

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