Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)
Social influence is key in technology adoption, but its role in security-feature adoption is unique and remains unclear. Here, we analyzed how three Facebook security features— Login Approvals, Login Notifications, and Trusted Contacts—diffused through the social networks of 1.5 million people. Our results suggest that social influence affects one’s likelihood to adopt a security feature, but its effect varies based on the observability of the feature, the current feature adoption rate among a potential adopter’s friends, and the number of distinct social circles from which those feature-adopting friends originate. Curiously, there may be a threshold higher than which having more security- feature adopting friends predicts for higher adoption likelihood, but below which having more feature-adopting friends predicts for lower adoption likelihood. Furthermore, the magnitude of this threshold is modulated by the attributes of a feature—features that are more noticeable (Login Approvals, Trusted Contacts) have lower thresholds.