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November 4, 2011

Users baffled by Facebook privacy changes: survey

Many have never even changed the default privacy settings, according to Which?

By Steve Evans

Facebook privacy

Facebook users cannot keep up with the vast number of changes made to privacy settings over the last few years, according to a Which? Computing survey.

According to the magazine, the social network giant, which has over 700 million users, has made nine changes to its privacy settings over the last 18 months. According to The Telegraph 48% of those polled by Which? said they agree with the statement, "I can’t keep up with the number of changes Facebook has made to its data security settings."

What’s more worrying is that a further fifth (19%) said they have never adjusted their Facebook privacy settings. "Many Facebook users have never changed their privacy settings and those who have do it far less often than Facebook makes changes," said Rob Reid, scientific policy adviser 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."

Facebook has made a number of changes to its privacy and security settings following concerns from users and security groups over its default settings. It recently unveiled changes that it said gives each user more control over their privacy by allowing them to set privacy controls for each individual post on the site.

Earlier this year it was revealed Facebook would be quizzed by Irish authorities over its handling of personal information. According to the Financial Times the Irish data protection commissioner will conduct a privacy audit of Facebook’s activities outside the US and Canada. Facebook’s European headquarters are in Dublin.

More recently Facebook has come under scrutiny from the German authorities over fears that is was tracking the Internet activity of users even after they had deleted their account, according to The New York Times.

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