Paper ‘Was My Message Read?’ Presented at CHI 17

Major online messaging services such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are starting to provide users with real-time information about when precipitants read their messages. This useful feature has the potential to negatively impact privacy as well as cause concern over access to self. In the paper ‘Was My Message Read?: Privacy and Signaling on Facebook Messenger’ we surveyed 402 senders and 316 recipients on Mechanical Turk. We looked at senders’ use of and reactions to the ‘message seen’ feature, and recipients privacy and signaling behaviors in the face of such visibility. ¬†Our findings indicate that senders experience a range of emotions when their message is not read, or is read but not answered immediately. Recipients also engage in various signaling behaviors in the face of visibility by both replying or not replying immediately.