Nearly two thirds (62%) of networking sites users say they are worried about the safety of their personal data held on these sites, reveals a survey conducted by email research specialists, emedia, using its RapidResearch service. The concern is so high that almost one third of users (31%) have already entered false information about themselves to protect their identity.
Andrea Simmons, Consultant Security Forum Manager at British Computer Society comments, ?As we become citizens of cyberspace and with social networking sites making details of members visible through public search engines, we need to learn how to use privacy settings in better ways and use computers safely.?
Users of social networking sites visit these sites on a regular basis and almost half of them (48%) admit using these websites at work. Nearly one in four (24%) users log in every day with half of them logging in several times a day. Up to 45% of users log in at least once a week.
The research shows that 81% of those surveyed use networking sites. The top five websites respondents have heard off are MySpace (89%), YouTube (88%), Friends Reunited (81%), Facebook (73%) and Bebo (51%). But the most popular sites amongst users are Friends Reunited (47%), YouTube (42%), MySpace (39%), Facebook (26%) and LinkedIn (19%).
Respondents keep in touch with various contacts amongst their social network, including friends (46%), colleagues (24%) and even client or potential clients (8%). Those surveyed visit social networking sites for personal and professional reasons, with 67% contacting old friends and reinforcing existing friendships and over one in ten (11%) using them as a tool for business purposes.
The survey indicates that 87% of all respondents think social networking sites can be used for business purposes including networking (65%), exchanging ideas (58%), getting advice (44%), recruitment (43%), research (35%) and selling (31%). Half of users find advertising on social networking sites intrusive. Interestingly 72% of users opted out to email newsletters from these sites and up to 93% opted out to email newsletters from selected third parties.