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 study.
Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain
Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain
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Of those using social media sites, 69% of respondents admit to posting their first and last names, 67% have posted their photograph, and 51% have included an email address. In addition, 16% have shared travel plans, 7% have posted their cell phone number, and 4% have revealed their home address, the study found.

It is difficult for many to decide how much is enough, according to the report, which found that 46% of Americans agreed that sometimes it is hard to determine what information to share and what to keep private.

One-quarter of poll respondents have seen social network members misrepresent themselves, through steps such as posting false information or creating fake profiles. And 14% said strangers communicated with them because of information they shared on a social network.

There are other downfalls to sharing too much information online. For example, 11% cited someone posting unflattering photos; 7% said a personal relationship with family or friends was affected because of revealing too much information; and 6% were concerned about being reprimanded because of something they posted. But 38% of those queried agreed with the statement that those who share too much online deserve to have that information used inappropriately.

However, social media sites do not escape blame: 76% of Americans were concerned that social networking sites are inadequately protecting users' personal information, the study found. And 43% admitted they typically hit "agree," without reading the site's terms and conditions, according to the report.

When it comes to work and the web, Americans are mixed, with 40% believing managers have the right to monitor their employees' personal tweets and Facebook pages, with an equal number of Americans believing they could lose their jobs because of information they've posted on social media sites. But 53% of respondents said inappropriate remarks on social media sites should not impact employment, the study found.