Pew Survey: Most Consumers Use Privacy Settings To Control Social Network Profiles

Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 25/02/2012 16:23

As the White House seeks to hand consumers more control over their information online, a Pew report released on Friday shows a majority of people on social networking sites use existing controls to protect their privacy.

Fifty-eight percent of social network users say they set their online profiles so only friends can see it, while another 19 percent allow friends of their friends to view their profile, according to the survey conducted on behalf of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Twenty percent of users said they left their profiles fully public.

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An increasing number of social network users are tightening up their privacy settings , "pruning" their personal profiles and unfriending people, according to the Pew study.

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Users of online social network sites such as Facebook are editing their pages and tightening their privacy settings to protect their reputations in the age of digital sharing, according to a new survey.

About two-thirds, or 63 percent, of social networking site (SNS) users questioned in the Pew Research Center poll said they had deleted people from their "friends" lists, up from 56 percent in 2009.

Privacy management on social media sites: Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project


Social network users are becoming more active in pruning and managing their accounts. Women and younger users tend to unfriend more than others.

About two-thirds of internet users use social networking sites (SNS) and all the major metrics for profile management are up, compared to 2009: 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.

Some 67% of women who maintain a profile say they have deleted people from their network, compared with 58% of men. Likewise, young adults are more active unfrienders when compared with older users.

About the Survey

This report is based on the findings of a survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 26 to May 22, 2011, among a sample of 2,277 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,522) and cell phone (755, including 346 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,701), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

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