Taylor's FSLM Journals
Social media privacy and the law: Perspectives from Malaysian and UK consumers

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

*Jason J Turner & Puteri Sofia Amirnuddin


The aims of this study are two-fold: firstly to investigate the perspectives of individuals from Malaysia and the UK to understand their views of responsibility and areas of concern about social media in the context of their respective countries and secondly, to examine the role that the law has to play in protecting an individual within the context of social media privacy and the disclosure of personal information. The methodology employed was a convenience sample and google survey with 164 social media users in Malaysia and the UK with supporting evidence provided by follow up interviews with 20 individuals to explore themes that emerge from the quantitative research. The study reveals that the robustness of the law concerning consumer privacy differs between Malaysia and the UK with Malaysia having one Act1 and the UK having two Acts2. However, the varying robustness of the laws protecting consumer privacy on social media had little effect on how an individual views privacy, with the perspectives of respondents being almost identical regardless of the country they lived in. The majority of respondents from both countries indicated it was the responsibility of the ‘collective’, (the provider, the community, the law and the individual), and not just one stakeholder and/or the legal apparatus to protect a user’s privacy online. Respondents felt social media users had to take more responsibility for their privacy and the consequences of any invasion of that privacy with the concept of privacy protection viewed as not just data protection but an all-encompassing phrase which includes how users interact with the platform, the treatment of company and personal information and the rights to access that information. These findings have practical and social implications, which centre on the need for all stakeholders to take ‘collective’ responsibility for online privacy and the protection of their personal information and for users to be better educated on how they interact with social media. The study should prove useful to consumers and businesses who are already interacting with social media and lawmakers who attempt to enforce the law.

Keywords: Malaysia law; UK law; privacy; personal information; social media