May 20, 2010

60% of Facebook users considering leaving over privacy

by Darren Allan

Facebook has long been under fire over privacy issues.

The newest concerns revolve around the way Facebook is proposing to share customer data with third-party websites.

And the site’s most recent privacy faux-pas involved real-time chats becoming visible to users other than the participants, which doubtless led to some very relationship damaging ear-wigging.

Facebook has even gone as far as to hire a hot-shot lawyer, Tim Muris (an ex-Bush administration man), to defend itself from potential privacy probes initiated by the Federal Trade Commission.

It seems the public isn’t impressed with the site’s privacy track record, either, at least not according to a poll conducted by security firm Sophos.

Sophos asked nearly 1,600 Facebook users whether they will quit the social networking site over privacy concerns.

A whopping 30% of respondents said that was “highly likely”, and a further 30% said “possibly”.

Which represents a figure of almost two-thirds of the Facebook population having minor to serious doubts about staying part of the community. Plus 16% said they had already quit the social networking website.

As Sophos points out, a mass exodus from Facebook seems an unlikely prospect, and this is probably more about people stamping their feet and hoping to be heard by the social networking head honchos. It’s a relatively small sample size, too.

However, it’s equally interesting that the search query “delete Facebook account” recently became a top trending affair on Google.

While we might not see a mass exodus, could we at least be in for the spectacle of a slight thinning of the Facebook population?

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