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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 19, 2010

Ofcom: British socnet users' privacy awareness increases

British social networkers are a lot more aware of online privacy matters than they were a couple of years ago and, according to a recent poll by Ofcom, more are locking down their social network profiles so that only family and friends are privy to their online socializing.

by Helen Leggatt

The more people indulge in online socializing, the more they learn about the consequences of not being vigilant about protecting their online data. This is reflected in data recently released by the U.K.'s independent telecommunications regulator and competition authority for the communication industries, Ofcom.

Their latest U.K. Adults' Media Literacy report (.pdf) found that 80% of adults using social networking sites now limit access to their profiles to friends or family, compared with 48% in 2007.

British adults willing to give out their email address online has dropped from 49% to 44%, found Ofcom, while over half (51%) look for signs of website security such as the padlock icon before entering sensitive information.

"Media literacy enables people to have the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to make full use of the opportunities presented both by traditional and by new communications services," stated the report.

"Media literacy also helps people to manage content and communications, and protect themselves and their families from the potential risks associated with using these services."

Concerns about privacy have recently spawned a flurry of high-profile Facebook deserters and searches for how to quit Facebook have increased dramatically over the last few weeks.

A "Quit Facebook Day" has even been organized. Just over 5,500 people have so far signed up to commit to quit the social network on 31 May, 2010 - a drop in the ocean for Facebook which has amassed nearly half a billion users.

Tags: online privacy, social networking, U.K.

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