The Strive for Preserving Online Anonymity as a Trigger for Online Identity Falsification
Maor Weinberger, Dan Bouhnik
In this exploratory study we investigate the main reasons and triggers for users to not disclose their personal details, or even to create a fake identity and provide falsified information upon website registration. In addition, we will examine the centrality of the desire to maintain online anonymity among the other antecedents of non-disclosure of personal details or identity falsification. Various reasons for non-disclosure of personal details or identity falsification were considered, such as the desire to remain anonymous.
To this end, a user study was carried out among 169 students of the Israeli academia, via a quantitative method using closed-ended questionnaires. The desire to remain anonymous was found as the most prevalent reason for this behavior and was always ranked as one of the top reasons among every sub-population that was examined (e.g. men / women, Bachelor / Master students, etc.). In addition, we made an attempt to predict the tendency of non-disclosure of personal details or identity falsification upon website registration, by using a multiple logistic regression taking into account various privacy and anonymity related reasons, such as anonymity awareness and privacy concern. However, it was found insignificant for the factors examined.