Online Moral Disclosure and the Construction of Privacy Practices

Tamar Ashuri, Ruth Halperin


This study traces the rise of online moral disclosures (OMDs), social networking site postings in which individuals attest to personal pain, seeking to transform the harsh realities that transformed them. We demonstrate that their authors are attempting to undermine prevailing practices related to privacy, through OMD production and publication, especially the standard concealment of private information regarding wrongdoing, a practice that OMD authors perceive as exacerbating their own suffering and that of sufferers like them. The study shows that by authoring and disseminating OMDs, authors displace the symbolic boundaries that have been central to informational norms in modern society, including distances between private places and public arenas and among social groups. We observe OMD through the analytical lens of structuration theory, a powerful tool for generation of novel insights into the role human agents now play in constituting privacy-related practices.


social networking site (SNS), self-disclosure, witnessing, privacy, structuration theory

Full Text: