Privacy Management on Social Media Sites

Feb 24, 2012

As social media use has become a mainstream activity, and attention to privacy issues has increased, a new study finds that most users of social networking sites choose restricted privacy settings while profile "pruning" and unfriending people is on the rise.

A survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet Project & American Life provides new data about the privacy settings people choose for their social networking profiles, and the specific steps users take to control the flow of information to different people within their networks.

About two-thirds (63%) of adults say they currently maintain a profile on a social networking site. Nearly six-in-ten (58%), say their main profile is set to be private so that only friends can see it; another 19% set their profiles to partially private so that friends of friends or networks can view them; 20% say their main profile is completely public.

The number of social network users who prune and manage their accounts has increased: 63% of them have deleted people from their "friends" lists, up from 56% in 2009; 44% have deleted comments made by others on their profile; and 37% have removed their names from photos that were tagged to identify them.

Read the full report, Privacy Management on Social Media Sites, on the Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site.

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