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Facebook Users Share More Personal Information

Bianca STANESCU

March 07, 2013

Facebook Users Share More Personal Information

Facebook users are sharing more personal information even as privacy concerns grow, according to the Carnegie Mellon University. A seven-year study has found evidence that the amount of information people publish on the social network changed over time, depending on the features Facebook introduced.

Facebook Users Share More Personal Information From 2005 to 2009, users were more careful with privacy settings, progressively decreasing the amount of personal data shared. The trend reversed between 2009 and 2010, when Facebook changed its interface and default settings. This made users confident again with sharing more and more personal details.

“These findings highlight the tension between privacy choices as expressions of individual subjective preferences, and the role of the network environment in shaping those choices,” said CMU Associate Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy Alessandro Acquistin. “While people try to take control of their personal information, the network keeps changing, affecting their decisions and changing their privacy outcomes.”

The Carnegie Mellon study also found that, over time, users ended up increasing their personal disclosures to “silent listeners” such as Facebook itself, third-party apps and advertisers. The research was the first long-term study on the evolution of privacy and disclosure on social networks over an extended period.

“Silent Listeners: The Evolution of Privacy and Disclosure on Facebook” analyzed data from a panel of over 5,000 Facebook users and is the first study to use data from Facebook’s early days in 2005.

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