New research released this week supports the view that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is badly out of synch with what his customers want. The social networking child-king likes to spout theories about “personalising” the Internet, which means encouraging people to share more data such as the websites they visit, the news they read and what they buy online.
But he might have got his fellow 20-somethings all wrong. The Pew Centre has just come out with a survey showing that young people are very concerned about their online privacy and reputation, confounding the idea that as people grow up with the Internet they will be more inclined to share their personal data.
Mary Madden, lead author of the report, said: “Many users are learning and refining their approach as they go–changing privacy settings on profiles, customizing who can see certain updates and deleting unwanted information about them that appears online.”
The report, based on telephone interviews with US internet users, found:
Compared with older users, young adults are not only the most attentive to customizing their privacy settings and limiting what they share via their profiles, but they are also generally less trusting of the sites that host their content. When asked how much of the time they think they can trust social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, 28% of SNS users ages 18-29 say “never.” By comparison, a smaller segment of older users express such cautious views; 19% of SNS users ages 30-49 and 14% of those ages 50-64 say they never trust the sites.
The survey, which echoes a study released in April, was published this week as Zuckerberg backed down from his attempts to push Facebook users to disclose more of their private data through so-called partner sites and third-party applications. Just weeks after launching the new, “richer experience” of the “personalised” Facebook, a user backlash has forced him to eat humble pie and announce simpler, tighter privacy settings.
Do you trust him?
(Photo courtesy of deneyterrio via flickr)