Posted September 18, 2007 11:20 am by with 12 comments

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A new survey by emedia suggests that 62% of social networking users are concerned about the security of their personally identifiable data. The fears run so high that 31% of social network users have already entered false information to protect their identity.

There’s lots of other interesting data, including respondents thoughts on how social networks can be used in business:

…87% of all respondents think social networking sites can be used for business purposes including networking (65%), exchanging ideas (58%), getting advice (44%), recruitment (43%), research (35%) and selling (31%).

But, be warned. Half of the users found advertising on social networks to be “intrusive.”

  • Social Networks tied together with a common interest are more likely to get accurate data. I feel the next generation of Social Media is headed in this direction. The likelihood of another MySpace in this market is going to be rare. Affinity groups is where social media is moving towards and will stay.

  • While interesting, I can’t say much of this information is surprising. Regarding the false information statistic, however, the question is does protecting themselves mean constructing an alter ago online, or just switching around the numbers of their birth date?

    Nice research find though – thanks for sharing!

  • Hmmm, while not surprising, this does devalue the user base’s worth to advertisers though… if they can’t be sure the people are in the demographic or interested in the subjects they claim, that kind of throws contextual, targeted ads out the window.

  • Hell yes I enter disinformation. I give false info to all of those supermarket discount clubs too. I love the intraweb as much as anyone but I am not putting out personal info I don’t have to.

    If you are really my friend, or business associate, you know who I am. If you aren’t then why would I give you my birthday?

    Every piece of paper, or code that exists with your personal info is yet another opportunity for someone to steal your identity or otherwise rip you off.

    If others want to take that risk it’s ok with me. But I will “opt out”.

  • Sites such as Facebook and DIGG should NOT require a birthday. If they want to verify “above 13”, just ask. If they desperately want age for demographic info (i.e. ad revenue), ask for the year. But month and day are just invitations to identity theft IMHO.

  • @Rick and Scott – great points about DOB info.

  • But, be warned. Half of the users found advertising on social networks to be “intrusive.”

    -Clearly anything that works usually is. That is why you see those annoying dating network ads on myspace… people click on them.

  • Not surprising at all, though I would expect the percentage of false information to vary from site to site. For example I’d guess a site like LinkedIn gets a much higher percentage of real info.

    I’d think how accurate the information has a lot to do with how much you trust the site.

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  • I use all unimportant e mails when i register to this sites because i do not want to receive marketing e mails from them.

  • Halogen11

    …And they know that because lying users told them.