May 24, 2022

Most Facebook Users Don’t Understand Privacy Settings

Explaining online privacy and demonstrating how privacy controls work for all social networks/databases can be and should be an important role for the info pro. People might believe that privacy is “no big deal” until their data is compromised or accidentally shared with people they don’t want to view it.

From eMarketer:

Internet users flock to social media networks to stay in touch with friends and family by sharing messages, photos and more. But when it comes to sharing personal information on these public sites, users expect to be able to share privately with their friends and circles.

A study from online sharing platform Posterous conducted by Harris Interactive found the majority of US social network users felt family and personal photos were for private sharing. Expectations for privately sharing status updates and photos of friends were slightly more lenient.


But one should not mistake comfort with online privacy on sites such as Facebook for an understanding of privacy controls. In regard to how well US social network users believe they understand Facebook’s privacy settings, Posterous found less than a third (32%) felt they had a complete understanding of such controls.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.