According to a study by Consumer Reports published yesterday, approximately 13 million people do not pay attention to or even use the privacy settings on Facebook. Clearly, Consumer Reports was pretty alarmed at this finding - and whilst this number represents a meagre 1.4 per cent of Facebook's 900 million users, there's still 150 million Americans who use the social networking site (accounting for 8.7 per cent of Facebook's worldwide users).
The study explored Facebook's privacy settings by investigating how many people actually use them, as well as users sharing information with one another. Querying the habits of 2,002 US households, 1,340 of those happened to be active Facebook users - with this data then extrapolated to the US population on the social networking site. The results included Facebook collating more data than users realised, users sharing data more widely than anticipated, as well as those simply not using Facebook's privacy settings.
"Consumer Reports completely missed the big issue," explained Jules Polonetsky, Director of the Future of Privacy Forum. "I expected Consumer Reports to focus on things like how useable are the privacy settings on Facebook versus other services, are apps taking more info than they should... It was surprising to see a very generally negative view toward social media."
In conclusion, Polonetsky thinks people share too much - with social networks now akin to a Big Brother movement.
What do you think? Should we rein in our need to divulge certain data? Or is this right taken away from us the moment we sign up to such sites?