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Privacy An Issue For Many Social Network Users

July 16, 2010

Nearly half of all Americans who have a profile on social networking sites are worried about their privacy, according to a new poll.

The survey found that seniors are more worried about privacy than those in younger age groups, and women are more concerned than men.

Dr. Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, told Reuters On Thursday, “We’re in an era of information. Some people are concerned, reluctant and skittish about the extent of online information. There’s a privacy element that some people feel is getting lost.”

Privacy is an ongoing issue for social networks. One such example is Facebook which, accoprding to Reuters, recently changed its policies to give users more control over how much information is shared from their profiles. The move followed public protests from privacy advocates and consumers about the difficulty in changing default account settings.

“It doesn’t take much to increase the concern factor and when headlines start blaring about breakdowns in privacy, that goes a long way to raising people’s concerns,” Miringoff added.

Of the 1,004 people who took part in the survey, 27 percent said they were concerned about privacy on social networking sites, and a further 23 percent were very concerned.

Among the most worried were those 60 and older, mostly because social networking sites do not come as naturally to them as to younger generations who have a more carefree attitude about the sites and privacy.

Overall, 43 percent of Americans said they use social networking sites to keep in touch with friends and family. Forty percent of men, and 45 percent of women, said they have a profile on a social networking site.

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