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back to article Male dinosaurs failing on social privacy

The latest data from the Pew Research Center shows men to be the least privacy-conscious people online, and the most likely to make a gaffe on social networking sites. The study of US social-networking users found that privacy controls are certainly popular among those who use such sites, with over half setting their accounts to …

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Given some of the stuff I've seen people happily put up on them (both male and female) I'm not really able to quantify what would count as a 'gaffe'.

Plus, the fact that men are less private with their data is not necessarily a privacy mistake. Regretting something afterwards is not the same as not wanting to reveal it beforehand. I've done quite a lot of things I regretted later that were bloody excellent at the time!

Seems to me this survey started with a very particular hypothesis, then 'analysed' the data to prove it. I'm sure Ben Goldacre would have many things to say about it.

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Holmes

@"this survey started with a very particular hypothesis, then 'analysed' the data to prove it."

Their whole premise is flawed, because people on social media sites (like Facebook etc..) are almost by definition less interested in protecting their privacy, than everyone else who are not broadcasting their lives on social media sites.

I would like to see how many don't sign up to sites like Facebook because of the privacy issues.

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Big Brother

@Asgard

"I would like to see how many don't sign up to sites like Facebook because of the privacy issues."

Unfortunately the article points out a dismal statistic:

From the article: "From the 2,277 people sampled, 93 per cent had a Facebook account"

So it looks like 93% of the population (of the US at least) is using Facebook. Seems like not too many worried about their privacy there. No wonder government agencies are beginning to make public services require it. No wonder courts are starting to make rulings about it. And nothing in the world of IT scares me more. Except perhaps Apple, but that's a whole different story...

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Re: @Asgard

You need to read it again - it was a survey of social networking and twitter users so your conclusion should be that 93% of SNS/Twitter users used FB.

Latest estimates for US penetration for FB is still around 40-50% of population.

And the actual report (which needs to be read cos the article is not a good summary) indicates that people are becoming more aware of the issues and taking more steps to control their information.

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WTF?

Erm, it doesn't say any of that.

I just skimmed through the pdf linked to in the article and basically it doesn't say any of what the article claim it does. Does anybody know which study the article actually refers to?

I particulary wonder about the following from the article:

"The latest data from the Pew Research Center shows men to be the least privacy-conscious people online, and the most likely to make a gaffe on social networking sites."

"Women are the smarter social sex, says study"

"Around half of users found existing privacy controls somewhat difficult to use, but the data found that the smarter your background, the dumber you are on this skill."

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Anonymous Coward

I'd be interested in a survey which compared the private nature of content posted by men and women to social networks, I suspect that men use looser privacy settings because the content is much less private.

AC in case the women of the world come and hunt me down for suggesting that the sexes might behave differently.

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Anonymous Coward

Release the dogs of war

"AC in case the women of the world come and hunt me down for suggesting that the sexes might behave differently."

They won't, they will release their men to hunt you down instead. And the men will comply because they prefer the short pleasure of sex over the short pleasure of pointing out the irony in that.

AC also for obvious reasons.

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Pint

Fantastic thesis!

"young men are the most impetuous of all"

When I read those few words I was simply gobsmacked. The level of advancement in human knowledge provided by such ground breaking insights simply boggles the mind. I can only imagine that a PhD in DuH will be soon awarded to the authors of this study.

Well done!

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Gold badge

Re: Fantastic thesis!

I quite agree, but the PhD viva did flag up one correction. The list of tags at the end of the article is missing "Surveys". Actually, quite a number of El Reg articles are missing this tag. Perhaps someone would like to add it.

(Note: That's shorter than the full tag-name which is "Ursine defacation habits, Papal religious beliefs and Holmesian constipation", but I don't think anyone will be confused by the abbreviation. We all know what to expect from a survey.)

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Being polite

I assume the phrases "post something they regret" , "young men are the most impetuous" and "men to be the least privacy-conscious people online, and the most likely to make a gaffe" are merely roundabout ways of saying that (young) men are more likely to post something while out of their skulls on <chemical of choice>.

Failing that, maybe it's simply down to the sorts of people that social networks attract? Not "men" or "women" in general, just the fraction who actually spend their time posting stuff.

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Maybe women take these things more seriously?

Men also tend not to get stalked to a serious [bodily-harm] degree.

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Facepalm

Hardly surprising

A man can post personal details on the net with very little worry.

A woman cannot - she is almost certain to attract idiots who will harrass her on the assumption that if they are annoying and stupid and aggravating enough she will fall on her back with her legs apart for them.

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Boffin

bad survey

"In all, 62 per cent of college graduates had problems, compared to 42 per cent of their lesser-educated brethren."

What this really says is that the "lesser-educated brethren" are less likely to recognize they've mis-set the privacy controls.

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Re: bad survey

I was about to post similar. Did the survey check whether the less educated people had the privacy settings they thought they had. Also, even assuming both sets of people had things set to most private, sometimes the settings are difficult to understand and admitting this is a sign that the user is more switched on and paying more attention.

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Boffin

Re: Re: bad survey

Read the survey.

It doesn't conclude much at all as far as I can see. It is the author of the article that concludes and gives credit to the survey. Where the survey concludes with sentences along the line of:

"Social media users who are college graduates are significantly more likely than those with lower levels of education to say that they experience some difficulty in managing the privacy controls on their profiles."

The article says:

"Around half of users found existing privacy controls somewhat difficult to use, but the data found that the smarter your background, the dumber you are on this skill."

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Re: bad survey

The survey itself is worded differently to the article. It talks of users with further education levels "reporting" difficulty with privacy settings. Which could just as easily mean that they may care more, and have actually looked at the settings.

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And I wonder how many of those surveyed said...

..."screw all this Facebook shite, if I want a website I'll build one"?

I mean you can't be a Facebook user and be all that concerned about your privacy.

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h3
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This is stupid. (Every woman I know other than my grandmother uses social networking).

Whereas a fair amount of the men I know don't use social networking at all.

Perhaps the men who are concerned just don't use Facebook.

Thinking you have any privacy at all is nonsense the second you sign up to one of these sites.

(Twitter perhaps being the exception).

The fact that people trust the privacy controls at all is the worst sign of the way our society is degrading.

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PJI
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Megaphone

USA survey covers USA social mores only

Do not assume that because this survey covers the USA it is valid for Great Britain, France, Australasia, Asia or the rest of Europe.

Contrary to the popular press, even England has a totally different set of social ideas and mores from the USA, as does Canada. This is a social survey.

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Silver badge

Re: USA survey covers USA social mores only

When I first scanned the title it registered as "... social whores only" and it made complete sense. It was only when I got to the end and correctly pronounced mores in my head that it clicked.

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PJI
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Happy

Re: Re: USA survey covers USA social whores only

Actually I like your reading of the title. Better than what I wrote. Pithy and to the point.

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Pint

Maybe..

That's because Facebook has given women an outlet to gossip without consequence, and men are more likely to actually socialise by going down the pub.

Who knows..

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Anonymous Coward

Men stop using Facebook when they don’t want their girlfriends or wife to find out what they've been up to.

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Anonymous Coward

On the contrary

Men are decidedly more privacy-conscious than women, so when using Facebook they disguise themselves as women.

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Big Brother

Not scientific but...

SWMBO had me set her privacy settings as she is not afraid to ask a male for help if needed whereas 19yo son did not want my help. Me I have the best privacy settings - no farcebook and all browsers in "porn" mode - & no not for that reason. Until it went t*sup I used scroogle instead of google & won't touch chrome.

When looking at SWMBOs feeds her friends (all female) put the most trivial intimate c**p on their walls (most friends & fof only) - SWMBO is not interested in most of this stuff (eg who saw this most incredible guy at work that she would like to f his brains out.) Sons stuff is usually of the "god I am hungover" or anybody know a good **** restaurant at **** or had a great time at ****'s party.

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Paris Hilton

Clueless

They seem to be clueless to the fact that since males are more often the pursuers of, ahem, loving relationships with anything that has a pulse, it's more a matter of self defense for many women not to share too much of their private lives. They don't want any random creep sidling up to them and/or stalking them... except for the attention whores.

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Ugh!

Ugh?

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FAIL

I came here for dinosaurs

Only to find references to yet another "study" on Facebook.

I am, btw, one of the "dumb" males the study refers to. I have a facebook account with absolutely no privacy setting. None at all. I have, all in all, 17 friends, almost all of which know each other in real life, 3 photos, I visit my page roughly trice a year, and even in these rare occasions I generally log in purely by boredom or to recall someone's birthday and don't post anything (appart from a cautionnary "status" note saying that messages sent to me via FB will most likely not be seen).

Bullish, careless and privacy-stupid of me, I know, but I can't help it: I'm male.

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Anonymous Coward

"The latest data from the Pew Research Center shows men to be the least privacy-conscious people online, and the most likely to make a gaffe on social networking sites"

Let's just get that sorted for you...

"The latest data from the Research Center of the Bleedin' Obvious shows men to be the least privacy-conscious people online, and the most likely to make divs of themselves anywhere they turn up."

Well blow me down with a feather, the ladies with thousands of years of practiced social interaction skills are, shock, horror, still better at social interaction when modern technology is the medium.

Red Dwarf: "The most popular pastimes have always been ones that males can enjoy alone: angling, golf, and of course the all time number one."

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Anonymous Coward

My Farcebook account

is intentionally left available. It gives anyone looking for me something harmless and inconsequential to find and tends to divert them from looking too hard for anything else.

What, no-one else does this?

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Silver badge

Bah!

Wouldn't a better measure of privacy-smarts be to see who doesn't put stuff up on the internet to start with?

"Privacy controls". What a joke. Especially given the epic levels of vengeance women can reach for, dwarfing those from any man I know. A falling out, a cut-and-paste and there goes your privacy.

Notwithstanding that the "private" stuff is sitting in several places the "owner" doesn't know about - the cloud has to touch down somewhere and then there's all those backups and redundancy measures.

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