- Internet & the Web
Why Social Media Network Users Do Not Check Their Privacy Settings
Social Media Networks
There are several social media networks, and the users are growing daily worldwide. For each online network, there are privacy settings within the individual user's account. While many people check their privacy settings, others do not. Risks of not adjusting privacy levels include identity theft and access to personal data without consent. With huge risk potential, why do some users not check their social media privacy settings?
The Settings Page
Users Do Not Understand Privacy Settings
Users of social media networks have a few similarities. They use the networks to communicate with established personal and business connections, as well as to seek out new connections. A variety of social media networks are available to them; a few of the largest ones are:
People may not always learn the applications entirely upon first usage, or even by the fifth or sixth time at the log-in screen. The reason for joining is to communicate and that is as easy as logging in and hitting the follow button. Privacy settings are found in related pages of the platforms, often within the personal account details. In their hurry to use the networks, users may not stop to investigate this particular page.
According to eMarketer, the majority of Facebook users do not understand the Privacy Settings page. eMarketer cites a staggering statistic, released by Posterous in the 2011 "State of Online Privacy Sharing Report":
"Less than a third (32%) of Facebook users felt they had a complete understanding of Facebook's privacy settings."
This is a shocking percentage, given that the total number of Facebook users tops 500 million! There is a significant number of people who do not fully understand their privacy settings. The lack of understanding would certain explain why people on social media networks are not checking these controls.
Degree Of Usage On Social Media Networks
A recent poll found that Facebook users who do not check their privacy settings use the networks more often than people who are more inactive. Degree of usage on social media networks is related to checking the controls.
The poll results were released by USA Today and Gallup Poll in October 2011. eMarketer explains the results:
"39% of US Facebook users who used the social networking site less than once a week were very concerned about their privacy, compared to only 26% of users who logged in daily."
Polled frequent users were less concerned about their privacy settings than people who logged in on a less frequent basis. Perhaps people who frequent Facebook feel familiar with the website; they do not think about the controls as much because of the high level of comfort.
Degree of usage on social media networks is a factor in checking the settings.
So Many Networks, So Little Time
Number Of Network Accounts
Another reason why certain social media users do not check their privacy settings is because of the sheer amount of network accounts that they have created.
Many people complain of the number of networks to which they belong. Given the limited amount of time within a day, combined with work and social commitments, there is likely not time to log on to each website daily. As well, doing so would decrease productivity as it takes away from work and other necessary tasks.
When a personal account is created on a social media platform and then not accessed for several days, people are likely not aware if there are changes to privacy policies. If their accounts were hacked, they might not know until they sign in three days later.
Other times, people create social media accounts and then lose interest in the application. Perhaps it does not suit their needs and they want to focus their attention elsewhere. They may forget to close down the account or keep it in case of future use. In the meantime, privacy settings could be changed by a company or may never have been set by the user.
Having a large number of social media accounts is another reason why people do not check their privacy settings.
In Conclusion: Privacy Settings And Social Media
There are several reasons why some social media users do not check their privacy settings. Frequent users of certain networks may feel high levels of comfort and therefore not regularly check the controls. Other people may not understand the network details or not use the website on a consistent basis. Privacy settings are important to check so that personal data does not get handled without the user's consent.
How Often Do You Check Your Privacy Settings?
How Often Do You Check Your Privacy Settings On Social Media Networks?
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