Study: 60 per cent of Facebook users mulling to quit

In a poll of 1,588 Facebook users, it revealed that the extent of member concerns is over the network's privacy settings.

Due to prevailing privacy concerns, several Facebook members are thinking to quit the popular social networking site -- at least 60% of them -- according to a latest survey conducted by IT security firm, Sophos.

In a poll of 1,588 Facebook users, it revealed that the extent of member concerns is over the network's privacy settings. The online survey showed that almost two thirds of Facebook users are considering leaving, with 16% claiming to have already stopped using Facebook as a result of inadequate control over their data.

Only recently, Facebook has been criticized over changes on how it can share user data across its site and with other websites.

Sophos said concerns have centered on the complexity and the "opt-out" approach to sharing member information with wider networks. Media reports suggest that Facebook is planning to announce changes to its privacy settings within the next few days, but it is unclear as to whether any changes will be substantial enough to address user concerns.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, commented that the poll only shows that majority of users are "fed up" with the lack of control that Facebook gives users over their data.

"Most still don't know how to set their Facebook privacy options safely, finding the whole system confusing," Cluley said, adding what is needed is a fundamental shift towards asking users to "opt-in" to sharing information, rather than to "opt-out."

In response to the criticisms of Facebook's privacy policy, a number of campaigns, including a "Quit Facebook Day" have been launched to increase public awareness of the issues.

"A mass exodus from Facebook seems unlikely, but Facebook members are clearly getting more interested in knowing precisely who can view their data," Cluley said.

He continued that "people use Facebook to share private information and are unlikely to want their holiday snaps or new mobile number accidentally popping up all over the internet. With this survey showing that only 24% of users aren't thinking about quitting, Facebook will need to make sure further changes to the privacy policy are clear, concise and in the interest of making it easier for members to know exactly who has access to whatever they chose to upload."

During the online survey, Sophos asked Facebook users the question "Do you think you will quit Facebook over privacy concerns?" And the results varied from: Possibly, 30%; highly likely, 30%; already have, 16%; no, 12%; and don't think likely at 12%.

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