Which? Magazine reports privacy fatigue hitting Facebook

According to the report, a recent slew of Facebook privacy updates is leading to ‘privacy fatigue’ – which the publication says has been confirmed by survey of more than 950 of its members.

Researchers found that 48% agreed that ‘I can’t keep up with the number of changes Facebook has made to its data security settings’.

Of more concern, says Which?, is the fact that 19% of Facebook users said they have never changed their privacy settings.

On average, says the magazine, respondents have changed their privacy settings just twice, despite a slew of changes throughout 2010 and 2011 (see below).

“Many Facebook users have never changed their privacy settings, and those who have do it far less often than Facebook makes changes”, said Dr. Rob Reid, scientific policy advisor for Which?

“This may reflect a disregard or lack of awareness for privacy, or, more worryingly, privacy fatigue stimulated by the dizzying number of changes”, he added.

In response to the findings, Which? quotes a spokesperson for Facebook as saying that the social media operator is simply responding to users’ demands.

Interestingly, Which? interviewed Sophos’ senior technology consultant Graham Cluley on the issue, who said that you stop people tagging you.

“With these changes, you can approve it on your own Facebook page, but they can still tag you and share it with their friends. Facebook could improve the way it educates people as to what these changes mean”, he explained.

Which?’s Dr. Reid agrees with Cluley that the constant change is confusing.

“Multiple changes per month to long-winded policies that are barely notified to users is leaving consumers of the social network [Facebook] feeling confused and powerless to keep up”, he said.

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