Social networkers fear identity theft

18 Sep 2007

Almost one third of social network users on sites like MySpace and Facebook admit to entering false information in their online profile in order to protect their personal data.

Two thirds of all social network users say they fear for the security of the personal data they store in these networking sites according to a survey by UK based email research specialists, Emedia.

There is a pressing need to use privacy settings correctly on these sites, says Andrea Simmons, consultant security forum manager at the British Computer Society.

She pointed out that many of these sites make member information publicly accessible from search engines.

Interestingly the survey found the 87pc of those surveyed felt that these sites can be used for business purposes, the most obvious being networking, but respondents also cited other areas of benefit such as exchange of ideas, recruitment, research and selling.

Almost half of all social network users admitted to visiting these sites while at work, with 24pc confessing to logging on several times a day.

However, 24pc of users said they used social networking sites to keep in touch with colleagues while 8pc communicated with clients or potential clients.

The survey, which was carried out in August of this year, found social networking to be quite pervasive with 81pc of respondents claiming membership of at least one of these sites.

The top five most recognised social portals among all those questioned were, in descending order: MySpace, YouTube, Friends Reunited, Facebook and Bebo.

On the other hand, among those that actually use the sites, the five most popular ones were: Friends Reunited, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and the business-oriented networking site LinkedIn.

By Marie Boran