Still Creepy After All These Years:The Normalization of Affective Discomfort in App Use

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


  • Fulltext

    Final published version, 1.61 MB, PDF document

It is not well understood why people continue to use privacy-invasive apps they consider creepy. We conducted a scenario-based study (n = 751) to investigate how the intention to use an app is influenced by affective perceptions and privacy concerns. We show that creepiness is one facet of affective discomfort, which is becoming normalized in app use. We found that affective discomfort can be negatively associated with the intention to use a privacy-invasive app. However, the influence is mitigated by other factors, including data literacy, views regarding app data practices, and ambiguity of the privacy threat. Our findings motivate a focus on affective discomfort when designing user experiences related to privacy-invasive data practices. Treating affective discomfort as a fundamental aspect of user experience requires scaling beyond the point where the thumb meets the screen and accounting for entrenched data practices and the sociotechnical landscape within which the practices are embedded.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2022 - Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2022
Article number159
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391573
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20225 May 2022


Conference2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2022
LandUnited States
ByVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Owner/Author.

    Research areas

  • affect, affective discomfort, creepiness, creepy, data practices, mobile apps, privacy, privacy paradox

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 309125000