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New Study Shows A Majority Of Young People Want Privacy on Facebook

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

Contrary to popularly held belief, many young people do care about their privacy while using social networking sites like Facebook. As per a report published by the Sunday Times, kids are not only seeking enhanced privacy these days, they are also taking privacy matters into their own hands and are making every effort to shield their online activities from unwanted attention. The report is based on a research conducted by the MRS Delphi Group, a think tank set up by Market Research Society (MRS), the world’s leading authority on research insight.

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg had famously said in 2010 that the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook proves that privacy was no longer a social norm. While claiming that people are comfortable with sharing a lot more and different types of information online, he had also stated at that time that online users are now willing to share their personal information openly with a lot of people. His comments coincided with the launch of Facebook’s new privacy policy and were widely interpreted as justifying the data sharing practices followed by the social networking giant. However, the recent report published by the Sunday Times suggests that Mark may me out of touch with the privacy expectations of the younger generation.

The report also throws a light on the methods used by young Facebook users to hide their online activities. The younger generation is not only protecting their personal information by using familiar methods like untagging themselves from pictures, they are also using drastic measures like deliberating posting incorrect or false information and even creating multiple identities on the social site. The report also suggests that teenagers are more likely to resort to “Vague Booking”, the practice of posting vague statements on social sites, in order to elicit a response from their friends through private messages.

There could be several reasons behind why teenagers are now taking their privacy so seriously. Since online privacy has been a hot topic of discussion of late, it can be said that the debate has raised awareness among users of all ages. However, there is also a possibility that young social users are merely trying to shield their online activities from their parents and teachers. It is worth remembering here that Facebook is immensely popular even among adults, whose children might also be members of the site.

Commenting on the findings, MRS Delphi’s Colin Strong, the author of the report; said that far from being careless about online privacy, teenagers are managing it carefully and discretely. The Chief Executive of the group, Jane Frost, also stated that young people are increasingly migrating to secure services like Snapchat and Guerilla Mail which automatically delete transmitted messages after a set time. While commenting on other networks and services that are popular among young people, she said that two-third of Twitter users are likely to have a private profile which they share only with their close friends. Additionally, most gamers use false information when asked about personal details on gaming websites.

October 17, 2015

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