Yes, Mr. Zuckerberg, people do care about their privacy

A new Pew Research survey shows that more Americans than ever are choosing to go private on Facebook and Twitter. It's time to for that "privacy is dead" lie to die.

Memo to the “privacy is dead, get over it” crowd: You’re in the minority.

The Pew Research Center released results of its latest survey on social media and privacy late last week, and they are worth a look.

According to Pew, nearly six out of ten Americans who maintain a profile on a social networking site have set it so that only their friends can see what they post. Only about one in five set their profiles to be totally public. So much for “sharing is the new social norm.”

Here’s the part that surprises me: More teenagers have privatized their profiles (62 percent) than those aged 65+ (55 percent). Check out those pix of sexy grandpa; who knew he was so limber?

The number of people who have untagged photos, deleted comments, and unfriended people is roughly 20 percent higher than it was in 2009. And again, it’s the young’uns (and women), not the oldsters who are doing more of it.

There’s a good reason for that, Pew says. Some 15 percent of men, as well as 15 percent of those below age 30, say they’ve posted something they later regretted. That’s more than double the number of women, and three times as many as the 50+ crowd.

Like I’ve said in this space before, if you must drink, don’t use Facebook.

The bad news in this survey is that about half of the 755 adults who were polled say the privacy controls on social networks are still a bit too difficult to easily manage. Here the stats skew in a predictable fashion; the older the survey respondent, the more likely they would find, say, Facebook’s catalog of privacy options a bit overwhelming.

The report’s own analysis kind of nails everything TY4NS has been saying for the last two+ years:

…some advocates and scholars argue that the public still cares deeply about their privacy online but those sensitivities have been ill-served by technology companies that stand to profit from more widespread sharing and availability of personal information. Users may be more open with what they share because they don’t adequately understand enough about how their data is stored and used. And just because they are comfortable posting some information publicly does not mean they have quietly surrendered all control over the information they choose to share online.

All I can say is, here here. It’s nice to be in the majority for a change. What do you think?

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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