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February 24, 2012

Facebook Users Becoming More Private

By Monica Gleberman, Contributing Writer

The social networking site, Facebook (News - Alert), was launched back in 2004 with very minimal privacy settings. However, users were still eager to join and were more than willing to post as much content as possible about their personal lives. Facebook, who claims it has more than 845 million active users, have added numerous privacy settings over the years allowing users to decide what to share and what to keep private – with job markets checking Facebook during the hiring process, many users have begun to limit their content.

Pew (News - Alert) Internet & American Life Project completed a study, released today, found more people are using the highest security settings on their Facebook pages than in previous years due to the importance of their online reputations. The report found that 63 percent of users have de-friended someone on Facebook, which is up almost 10 percent from 2009.

The report also showed that users are monitoring the items that others post to their profile, with 44 percent deleting comments made by their friends, an almost 10 percent from the last report in 2009. Users aren’t shy about removing themselves from content that others post of them or tag (News - Alert) them in. In 2009, around 30 percent of users would remove themselves from something posted in the social network that number has also seen an increase of seven percent this year.

Users have become more selective when it comes to their online reputation, which in turn has made them more cautious when using the social networking site, thinking twice before posting anything. More than half of the users surveyed admitted that their profiles are private or only visible to their friends.

Yahoo News said these findings are probably due to crack down from the government. Yahoo reported that the findings come a day after the Obama administration called for stronger privacy protections for people who use the Internet, mobile devices and other technologies with increasingly sophisticated ways of tracking them. Pew’s findings suggest that people not only care about their privacy online but that, given the tools, they will also try to manage it.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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