Study: More than 90% of Americans Take Action on Privacy

That’s my takeaway from a new study of 2,000 households by Consumer Reports:

There are more than 150 million Americans using Facebook at this point, and that number is growing. … a new exhaustive study from Consumer Reports on social networking privacy found that 13 million American Facebook users have never touched their privacy settings. (“Study: 13 Million People Haven’t Touched Facebook Privacy Settings“, Consumerist)

Consumerist’s headline focused on the small portion who haven’t touched their privacy settings. I think much more interesting is that based on the Consumer Report numbers, 91% of Americans have taken the time to dig into Facebook’s privacy controls. Also, 72% lock down their wall posts. Those are privacy protective actions, and we regularly hear how those privacy controls are hard to use, and how frequently Facebook changes them.

We often hear privacy-invaders making claims that Americans don’t care about privacy, or won’t do anything about it. Those claims are demonstrated to be false, and false amongst even those least likely to be privacy-concerned (young, willing to be on Facebook).

So next time you hear someone make one of those claims, ask them why 91% of Americans change their privacy settings.

As an aside, the article has a really clear summary of the many privacy problems around Facebook.

One thought on “Study: More than 90% of Americans Take Action on Privacy

  1. I find their sample set to be awfully small.

    That aside, the Consumer Reports article paints a far more distressing picture, even if a majority of users have “touched” their privacy settings, whatever “touched” means…

    This should be troubling for organizations like Facebook. I think there is interest, but it’s only interest in so much as people are aware. It behooves Facebook to be as arcane, mysterious, and opaque as possible with the data it collects and uses/persists.

    Still, I get the impression you want to compare privacy concerns of Americans with some other national/regional group. Being an American and having seen/heard some information about European privacy laws/concerns, I’d not hesitate to say that we Americans are far behind the curve and care far less than, say, European interests…

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