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Americans Ignoring Social Media Privacy Risks

Users are worried about the dangers of disclosing personal information on Facebook and other sites, but they do it anyway, finds Lawyers.com study.

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Despite realizing the dangers of posting personal information on social networking sites, Americans continue to divulge a lot of data about themselves, a new study by Lawyers.com found.

Half of American social media users surveyed admit to seeing people disclose too much personal information online, yet 28% of social media users admit to rarely considering what could occur if they share too much private data online, the report said.

About 44% of those surveyed are concerned that the personal information they share on these sites is being used against them, while 21% of Americans who use social media sites believe people who take advantage of weak privacy settings on these sites already have accessed their personal information, according to the poll.

The study was released about a week after 10 of the most popular Facebook apps were found sharing members' user ID numbers with outside companies, and three of the top 10 Facebook apps, including Farmville, shared information about users' friends. Lawyers.com, which is designed for consumers and small businesses, is operated by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, which commissioned TNS Global to conduct the 2010 Lawyers.com Social Networking Survey of 1,000 adult Americans.

"The Lawyers.com Social Networking Survey reveals a clear disconnect between the privacy concerns of users and their actual behaviors and disclosures on social networking sites," said Carol Eversen, VP of marketing at LexisNexis. "Nearly every week we hear about the negative consequences resulting from inappropriate disclosures and uses of personal information on social networking sites, however the data suggests that Americans are not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves."

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