Benefit of Social Networking Outweighs Privacy Risks for Most

Lora Bentley

At the end of last month when the fuss about the latest Facebook privacy changes was at its height, Vision Critical watched closely.


Just before May 31, the day organizers had set aside for those fed up with Facebook's lack of regard for user privacy to make a statement, the research firm released a study indicating that few users would actually deactivate their accounts. In fact, the research showed only 2 percent of users were considering quitting. What's more, with a sample size of 700, 2 percent fell within the margin of error.


When privacy advocates and other vocal observers were predicting a mass exodus from the social network, Vision Critical maintained that no one would really quit. It goes without saying that researchers were pleased when reality validated their findings. When I spoke with Vision Critical SVP Matt Kleinschmit not long ago, he told me less than 1 percent of Facebook users actually deactivated their accounts on Quit Facebook Day.


So are people really not as concerned about privacy as the blogosphere and the privacy advocates say they should be? Or are they just completely addicted to their social networks?


Kleinschmit said it all comes back to the "inherent contradiction" of social media. He explained:

People are becoming increasingly aware of the privacy concerns, and they're extra careful about what they post. On the other hand, they also obviously recognize the value of social media in terms of keeping in touch with their close friends and family, so they continue to take the risk.

In other words, the benefit of staying in touch with friends and family in this way outweighs the privacy risks for most people - at least for now.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 10, 2010 6:01 AM Jane Stenson Jane Stenson  says:

I would think that the Facebook Quit Day was more of a media stunt that was created and promoted by certain individuals. It's 100% obvious to me that most normal people don't care that much about privacy on Facebook. Actually, no. It's not that they don't care at all, it's that there are bigger privacy issues out there. Look at something like DirtyPhoneBook. How could that exist in a society that really cared about privacy? In the end I think the world is going to continue to open up. Facebook is going to continue to open up it's users' data to advertisers and most people won't really care about this except a handful of nerds probably. That's how I see things unfolding. And yeah, in general, the benefits of Facebook are well-worth the minor inconveniences.


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