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Facebook users 'unfriending' in greater numbers to guard privacy

London , Sat, 25 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 25 (ANI): People are managing their privacy settings and their online reputation more often now than they did two years earlier, a new report has revealed.


According to the report released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, whether it's pruning friends lists, removing unwanted comments or restricting access to their profiles, Americans are getting more privacy-savvy on social networks.or example, 44 percent of respondents said in 2011 that they deleted comments from their profile on a social networking site. Only 36 percent said the same thing in 2009, the Daily Mail reported.


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.


Along those lines is "profile pruning", which Pew reports is on the rise.


Nearly two-thirds, or 63 percent of people on social networks said last year that they had deleted friends, up from 56 percent in 2009. And more people are removing their names from photos than two years ago.


This practice is especially common on Facebook, where users can add names of their friends to photos they upload.


All together, there has been a 7 percent average increase in deleted comments, friends and untagged photos between 2009 and 2011.


However, despite cutting and downsizing of profile information being up, the activity on social networking sites like Facebook is up too according to the report.


Other findings of the report included women being much more likely than men to restrict their profiles. Pew found that 67 percent of women set their profiles so that only their "friends" can see it. Only 48 percent of men did the same.


It also found that people with the highest levels of education reported having the most difficulty figuring out their privacy settings. That said, only 2 percent of social media users described privacy controls as 'very difficult to manage.'


The report found no significant differences in people's basic privacy controls by age. In other words, younger people were just as likely to use privacy controls as older people. 62 percent of teens and 58 percent of adults restricted access to their profiles to friends only.


Young adults were more likely than older people to delete unwanted comments. 56 percent of social media users aged 18 to 29 said they have deleted comments that others have made on their profile, compared with 40 percent of those aged 30 to 49 and 34 percent of people aged 50 to 64.


Pew's phone survey of 2,277 adults was conducted in April and May 2011. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. (ANI)


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