Smart Speakers Require Smart Management: Two Routes From User Gratifications to Privacy Settings

Kun Xu, Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, Fanjue Liu


Smart speakers’ voice recognition technology has not only advanced the efficiency of communication between users and machines, but also raised users’ privacy concerns. As smart speakers listen to users’ voice commands and collect audio data to improve algorithms, it is crucial to understand how users manage their privacy settings to protect personal information. Combining the uses and gratifications approach, the Media Equation, and communication privacy management theory, this study surveyed 991 participants’ attitudes and behavior patterns related to smart speaker use. The study explored the unique gratifications that users seek, identified the main strategies that users adopt to manage their privacy, and suggested that users apply interpersonal privacy management rules to interactions with smart media. In addition, users’ gratifications affect their privacy management via two routes: a protective route that highlights the role of perceived privacy risks, and a precautionary route that emphasizes the impact of users’ social presence experiences.


social presence, smart speaker, uses and gratifications, Media Equation, privacy management, voice assistant, artificial intelligence

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