[LINK] Facebook

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sun May 23 23:11:15 AEST 2010

Blog post courtesy of Sophos. (Btw, imho, excellent antivirus folk)

Sixty percent of Facebook users consider quitting over privacy (May 19th)


Over the last few days we've been running an online poll asking Facebook 
users if privacy concerns might make them consider quitting the service.

The votes have now been counted, and reveal the extent of members' 
concerns regarding the popular social network's privacy settings. 

Our findings suggest that almost two thirds of Facebook users are 
considering leaving, with 16% of those polled claiming to have already 
stopped using Facebook as a result of inadequate control over their data.

These results come amidst growing criticism that Facebook is facing over 
changes to the way that the social network can share user data across its 
site and with other websites. 

Concerns have centred on the complexity and 'opt-out' approach to sharing 
member information with wider networks. 

Media reports suggest that Facebook is planning to announce changes to 
its privacy settings within the next few days, but it is unclear as to 
whether any changes will be substantial enough to address user concerns.

What this poll shows is that the majority of the people we polled are fed 
up with the lack of control that Facebook gives them over their own data. 

Most still don't know how to set their Facebook privacy options safely, 
finding the whole system confusing. What's needed is a fundamental shift 
towards asking users to 'opt-in' to sharing information, rather than 
to 'opt-out'.

A mass exodus from Facebook seems unlikely, but Facebook members are 
clearly getting more interested in knowing precisely who can view their 

We've seen "delete Facebook account" becoming a hot search term on 
Google, and a number of campaigns, including a 'Quit Facebook Day', 
spring up to raise awareness of the issues.

People use Facebook to share private information and are unlikely to want 
their holiday snaps or new mobile number accidentally popping up all over 
the internet. 

With this survey showing that only 24% of users aren't thinking about 
quitting, Facebook will need to make sure further changes to the privacy 
policy are clear, concise and in the interest of making it easier for 
members to know exactly who has access to whatever they chose to upload.

Now, there will be some who will say that our poll is biased - after all, 
the people who came across our online poll are likely to already have an 
active interest in security and privacy issues. But such people are also 
likely to have the ear of other users, and as privacy and online safety 
become more key concerns for the public they will look to experts as to 
whether certain social networks are acting in their best interests or not.

Note: In total 1860 people responded to the poll. We have removed from 
the statistics above the 272 users who said they were not members of 
Facebook, but kept the separate 254 who said they had already left 
because of privacy worries.

Please bear in mind that this poll is not scientific and is provided for 
information purposes only. Sophos makes no guarantees about the accuracy 
of the results other than that they reflect the choices of the users who 
participated.  Posted on May 19th, 2010 by Graham Cluley, Sophos.



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