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NEWS RELEASE: “Do I Know What You Can See? Social Networking Sites and Privacy Management”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New study: “Do I Know What You Can See? Social Networking Sites and Privacy Management”

Results show Facebook users have become more actively engaged in privacy management, are less likely to accept friend requests from unknown entities, and are more proactive in their responses to privacy incidents.

New York, Oct. 4, 2012 – Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Pace University have examined the privacy practices of Facebook users, capturing not only their usage and perceptions of Facebook’s privacy management capabilities but also adaptations such as self-censorship of shared information.

The privacy attitudes of today’s Facebook users were compared with data collected in 2007. The results suggest that Facebook users now are much more actively engaged in privacy management, are less likely to accept friend requests from unknown entities, and are more proactive in their responses to privacy incidents.

The authors of the new study are Regina Collins, Starr Hiltz, and Harshada Shrivastav of New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Catherine Dwyer of Pace University.

“Facebook users are concerned about maintaining the privacy of their information online; to achieve this, they are taking an active role in managing their privacy settings on Facebook and also implementing techniques such as self-censorship to ensure that their online privacy is not violated,” the researchers write. “Substantial numbers of Facebook users feel that they do not know for certain who can see various types of data about them, and that they distrust Facebook in terms of safeguarding their privacy.”

Facebook, a dominant force among social networking sites, has implemented privacy management tools to give its one billion monthly active users control over the visibility and accessibility of their personal data. Yet users have expressed frustration and concern over these measures and their implementation and, in November of 2011, Facebook reached a settlement with the United States Federal Trade Commission based on charges that Facebook “deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public.” (ftc.gov 2011)

“Social networking sites invite users to share personal information with their connections, allowing individuals to easily maintain their social capital,” the researchers say. “The sharing of personal information on social networking sites can bring positive outcomes; however, it can also lead to issues such as identity theft and cyberbullying.”

The paper is available at http://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2012/proceedings/SocialIssues/3/

About New Jersey Institute of Technology

NJIT, New Jersey’s science and technology university, enrolls more than 9,558 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. http://www.njit.edu/

About Pace University

For 105 years Pace has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. http://www.pace.edu

Media contact: Bill Caldwell, Pace, 212-346-1597, wcaldwell@pace.edu

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