Posted December 12, 2011 3:08 pm by with 1 comment

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Keeping things private on the internet is like having a personal chat with a friend in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. You can try to find a safe haven. Pass notes instead of shout. Chances are it won’t matter anyway, since 99% of the strangers couldn’t care less about what you have to share. Still, it only takes one person to overhear and spread the word and private goes out with the old year.

Still, people keep saying they expect privacy on social networks. Look at these numbers from eMarketer.

I get that people want photos to be private, but 53% expect comments they leave on other people’s posts to be private? Have these people never been to high school where everything you say can and will be used against you?

Whats even crazier is that they expect more privacy from Google+. What’s that all about? Why is Google expected to take more care than Facebook? That doesn’t seem fair.

It gets even better when you look at the next chart:

68% of people feel they don’t completely understand Facebook’s privacy controls. Now that, I believe. In attempting to give people more control, Facebook has actually made the situation worse. There are too many options and monitoring them all is time consuming. Seems to me, Facebook would be better off with a public or private switch and a header at the top that shows if you’re visible or not.

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I think there’s one more question eMarketer should have graphed. How many people believe that when you mark something private on Facebook, it is actually kept private. I’d bet a lot of people believe it, but I’d bet it’s not always true.

Do you worry about your privacy on social networks?

  • If you are so worried about your privacy, don’t use the service. Or limit what you say and share. There’s no doubt that Facebook’s privacy policies are confusing. Users have to understand that clearly they are giving something up in order to use this “free” service.