1 in 4 Facebook users lies over privacy concerns

May 7, 2012
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1 in 4 Facebook users lies over privacy concerns

With Facebook's ever-changing privacy and security system, it's hard enough to tell who has access to your real life information and when. According to a survey from Consumer Reports, many users aren't worrying too much about it, because the information on display is somewhat less than accurate. The survey indicates that one out of every four Facebook users lied about basic information in their profile, for fear of having their identity stolen. This isn't the old age or height fibbing - it's a natural response to the fear instilled by modern-day identity thieves.

As cautious as some users are, an even larger percentage of them are either uncaring or ignorant of the privacy settings on Facebook. According to the survey, 28% of all Facebook users share their posts with the entire network, and by extension, the Internet as a whole - Facebook's older "walled garden" approach went out the door years ago. 13% of users have never adjusted their privacy settings, and almost 5 million have shared travel plans on the network, opening up an immediate and critical threat to the safety of their unguarded home. A shrewd and unscrupulous criminal could trawl Facebook for those on vacation, cross-reference names and locations with phone listings and have an unfunded shopping spree.

The problem comes from conflicting interests for social networks. While you might want to keep your communication and interaction to a close group of around a hundred people, it's in Facebook's best interest for you to share with everyone constantly, so they can sell advertising against it. For heavy Facebook users, checking the privacy policy and your individual privacy settings is a must - and perhaps letting a few falsehoods through isn't such a bad idea. The company was recently rumored to be preparing an $11.8 billion IPO, and has passed an astonishing 900 million worldwide users.

[via Wtop]


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