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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 28, 2012

Pew reveals rise in the awkward task of de-friending

Facebook users, once driven to collect friends, are now beginning to manage their accounts, and contacts, more efficiently, according to a new study from Pew. While de-friending is still seen as an awkward online moment women, it seems, are more likely to hit the delete button than men.

by Helen Leggatt

Pew's latest insights into the behavior of social networkers reveals that the three major metrics for managing profiles are up compared with three years ago.

In 2009, 53% of users had de-friended someone. That figure has now risen to 63%. The number of users deleting comments is also up from 36% in 2009 to 44%, as are the number of photo tags being removed up from 30% to today's 37%.

When it comes to de-friending undesirable followers on Facebook many find it a difficult, if not awkward, task. Pew's study found that women (67%) were more likely to hit the delete button than men (58%). Being de-friended has shown to evoke powerful emotions, even homicide.

Overall, keeping profiles private is on the up. Over half (58%) now set their main profile to 'Friends Only' and just 19% allow access to 'Friends of Friends'. Two in five profiles are left completely open to the public and, while many of these are commentators or people seeking a wide audience, some are the result of users who are unaware of how to manage Facebook privacy settings. Pew discovered that almost half (49%) find managing their privacy settings an easy task but 48% say it's hard to do and 2% have real difficulties.

Tags: Facebook, gender, privacy, profile, research, social network, U.S.

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