Half of Facebook users unhappy with privacy controls

That's just one of the messages from Barracuda Networks' 2011 Social Networking Security & Privacy Study, which also reveals that 20% of respondents have been negatively affected by information that was exposed on a social network, and 95% think that social networking sites need to do a better job protecting against account hacking.

Dr. Paul Judge, vice president and chief research officer with the company, whose research operation – Barracuda Labs – conducted the 500-respondent survey on its web site, said that social networks are a significant part of how we communicate with one another.

“At the same time, the dangers associated with social networking have climbed exponentially. The fact that nine out of 10 users already have been attacked proves that attackers are taking over social networks and users are living in fear”, he said.

The study, which focused on social networking usage, security and privacy - and took in responses from hundreds of users from more than 20 countries - was conducted over a two-week span between September and October 2011.

Overall, the research found, users value security and privacy almost equally to popularity and ease of use, showing the growing need for tools to enhance the security and privacy controls on social networks.

Interestingly, LinkedIn was found to be the most accepted social network by businesses with only 20% of companies blocking or limiting its usage, as compared to 31% of companies that block or limit Facebook.

Delving into the report reveals that whilst security and privacy, respectively, influenced 92% and 90% of people when it came to selecting a social network, the key influencer (91%) was whether people's friends are using the service.

54.3% of respondents, meanwhile, said they had encountered spam on a social network site, whilst 13.0% had had their account hijacked or stolen.

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