Social network users admit to being careless with their personal information and then ending up having regrets over what they have posted online, a new study reveals . The survey was carried out on 2,000 users 18 and older and revealed that a third of them wished they kept some photos and personal information to themselves.
A very concerning discovery is that half of the people surveyed stated they wouldn’t want to have their personal information shared with their followers and online friends. Moreover, one in 10 people experienced difficulties at their workplace after publicly moaning about work and over one in 20 have missed out on a job because of what they have shared on their profiles (inappropriate language, photos of them drunk or barely dressed, etc.).
The study was commissioned by White Hat Media, a digital marketing agency, and another important finding is that three in 10 people admit they cringe about some of their past status updates.
“There is a massive trend for people posting their whereabouts and achievements on a daily basis,” said a White Hat Media spokesperson. “Research shows that the average person dips in and out of social media several times a day, sharing a wealth of information in the process. And it can be hard to remember what followers you have, and who you might be comfortable sharing intimate details with.”
“Moaning about a hard day at work might not go down well with the boss or work colleagues, and posting pictures of a night out when you’ve claimed you’re busy to someone else will also cause problems.”
People admit they share too much information online, the most common status updates revealing information on their jobs, feelings, proudest moments, illnesses, thoughts on local news, whereabouts, news about friends and family.
53% of those surveyed said they wouldn’t confide in their followers in a face-to-face meeting. Even if people share so much information, only 44% of users think their details and posts are secure online and 37% admit they are not online savvy at all.
“According to these results people are sharing more and more sensitive information online without even thinking about online privacy or the serious impact it could have on their lives,” added the spokesperson.
“Scientific studies show (Stanford University) that people are willing to freely share private information as long as they believe it will be kept confidential and this is the trap many fall into. When this confidentiality is breached or they realise that posting things online is not as private as they first thought, people start to regret quite how much information they’ve put into the public domain.”
This study points out that it is very important for social media networks’ users to be very careful with their information and details, to pay attention when reading the privacy settings of the networks they use.
“Think before you speak” is an old saying, and it is still valid, always will be, and it could be applied to the online environment too: think before you post. It is very easy to turn immediately to online networks to share something, it is almost impossible however to take it back at a later moment as, even if deleted, it remains in archives and cache memory.