Some 71 percent of social networking users aged 18 to 29 have changed the privacy settings on their profile to limit what they share with others online, according to a new digital identity survey from Pew Research Center. That compares to just 55 percent of social site users ages 50 to 64 who have changed their privacy settings. In short, the older the user is, the less likely he is to limit personal info online. The findings take on an interesting dimension in light of the fact that Facebook just changed its privacy settings again, making them easier for users to manage.
People, especially young ones, are quite conscientious about tending to
their reputation on the Web, according to a Pew
Some 71 percent of social networking users aged 18 to 29 have changed the
privacy settings on their profile to limit what they share with others online.
That compares to just 55 percent of social site users ages 50 to 64 who have
changed their privacy settings.
Moreover, 44 percent of young adult Web users limit the amount of personal
info available about themselves online.
The older the user is, the less likely he is to limit personal info online.
Only 33 percent Web users ages 30 to 49 and 25 percent of users ages 50 to 64
limit their info. Just 20 percent of users 65 and older limit info.
The numbers come at a time when users have generated massive amounts of
information online by using search engines and social networks such as
Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
This includes data created from the use of Web applications, including games
and communications and collaborations software.
Nearly 500 million people flock to share links, photos and videos and play
games such as "Zynga's Farmville" or "Mafia Wars" on Facebook,
Pew research analyst Mary Madden said many young users are refining their
approach to information-sharing on the fly.
These users are frequently changing privacy settings on profiles,
customizing who can see certain updates and deleting unwanted information about
"Contrary to the popular perception that younger users embrace a
laissez-faire attitude about their online reputations, young adults are often
more vigilant than older adults when it comes to managing their online
identities," Madden wrote in her May 26 report.
Pew researchers surveyed by phone 2,253 adults in August and September of
2009. Some 57 percent of Internet users said they have used Google, Bing, Yahoo
or some other search engine to look up their name and see what information was
available about them online. That number is up from 47 percent of people from
Conversely, 38 percent of Internet users have searched online for
information about their friends, a boost from the 2006 figure of 26
This led Pew to conclude that reputation management has now become a
"defining feature" for many Web users. Others, however, don't seem to
care and subscribe to Facebook CEO Mark
Zuckerberg's view that the world wants to be open and share information online.
Madden's reputation management findings take on an interesting dimension in
light of the fact that Facebook just changed its privacy settings again, making them easier for users
Facebook users may select to share information with friends, friends of
friends or everyone and customize their settings from one page with a single