The Social Antecedents of Password Sharing: Why Do People Share Passwords?
Subscription-based services are widely used, and also widely shared, leading to significant revenue losses for providers. This research studied the role of social relationships in individuals' intentions to share passwords. Specifically, this research used social exchange theory to study how altruism, reciprocity, perceived status, and social connectedness affected individual intentions to share passwords, where trust was the mediating factor. The findings of this research indicated that perceived status was a significant predictor of password sharing intentions. Users with lower perceived social status intended to share their passwords with those of higher perceived social status. These findings indicate that password sharing intentions may be more of a power differential than an exchange mechanism. The primary finding of this study is that status was influential in the intention to share passwords, that is, two individuals at different levels of social status encouraged sharing intentions.