By Margarita Nahapetyan
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project report, online social network users are getting more concerned about their privacy and online reputation than they did a couple of years ago.
The report found that:
Male users of social network sites such as Facebook were almost twice as likely as their female counterparts to have posted content that they would later regret.
Sixty-three per cent of users reported to deleting people from their friend lists, which is up from 56 per cent in 2009.
Sixty-seven per cent of ladies said that they have deleted friends from their friend lists, compared with 58 per cent of men.
19 per cent of the users allow friends of friends to view their profile and 20 per cent keep their profile open to public.
67 per cent of women set their profiles to private, so that only their "friends'' can see it. Only 48 percent of men reported doing the same thing.
Representatives of younger generation were just as likely to use privacy restrictions as older people. Sixty-two per cent of teenagers and 58 per cent of adult users set their personal information for the friends view only.
The most educated individuals said that they had the hardest time figuring out how the privacy settings are managed. In particular, only 2 per cent of social media users described privacy controls as very hard to manage.
Young people were more likely than older generation to delete unwanted posts and comments. 56 per cent of social media users aged between 18 and 29 years said that they have removed comments that others have posted on their pages, compared with 40 per cent of users aged 30 to 49 years and 34 per cent of those aged between 50 and 64.
Young people were more likely to post something they had to regret later when compared to older users. 15 per cent of social network users aged between 18 and 29 years said they have posted something regrettable. Only 5 per cent of Facebook users over 50 reported doing the same thing.
Ninety-three per cent of social network users who took part in the poll said that they have a profile on Facebook, up from 73 per cent in 2009. The popularity of social networking site Myspace continues to decrease, the survey found. Only 23 per cent of social network users reported having Myspace account, down from 48 per cent in 2009. And while just 6 per cent of social network users said that they had a Twitter account in 2009, 11 per cent are now using the short-messaging service.
These new findings come after the Obama administration warned individuals who use Internet, smart phones and other technologies for stronger privacy protections with increasingly sophisticated methods of tracking them. Pew's report recommends that people not only be careful about their privacy online but that they should also try to manage it.
This survey of nearly 2,500 adults was conducted in April and May of 2011. It had a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. The information about teenagers came from a separate phone poll that was conducted by Pew and involved teens and their parents.