Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Social Networking Users Say They Want More Control Over Their Info

Online privacy is not just for wonks any more. Lots of people say it’s important to them — especially when researchers come asking.

Not everyone is turned off by complex privacy settings, or so they say. Sixty-one percent of social networking users interviewed by Harris Interactive said they’d share more if they could control who could see what they share.

And a significant portion — 20 percent — said they currently opt to share all their photos by email instead of on social networks because they’re worried about privacy.

That study was paid for by the privacy-focused social network and blogging tool Posterous and included about 2,000 respondents. It’s timely, given Facebook just agreed to 20 years of privacy audits.

Meanwhile, an Alcatel-Lucent-sponsored study of about 5,000 Americans found that 70 percent of respondents had ignored friend requests in order to limit who could see their online posts.

That “Identity Shift” study broke out particular age groups. For instance, 85 percent of “empty nesters” and retirees said they’re comfortable sharing information if they have control over who sees it. Among teenagers surveyed, 58 percent said they’d posted statuses, comments or photos about themselves or their families that they later regretted.

The Alcatel-Lucent study found 75 percent of people said they interact with people online that they’ve never met.

Meanwhile, participants in the Posterous study said they’d only met 55 percent of their Facebook friends in person.

Image via Shutterstock/Péter Gudella.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik