Market Overview

Millions of Facebook Users Haven't Touched Their Privacy Settings

Many Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) users are eager to complain about the site's privacy problems associated with the social network, but it turns out that there are millions of individuals who have never touched them.

According to Mashable, 13 million Facebook users have never used the social network's privacy settings.

While that is an enormously large number, 13 million is just a small fraction of the more than one billion monthly active users that currently have a Facebook account.

Last year, when Facebook obtained its 955 millionth user, 83 million of those pages (roughly 8.7 percent of the total users) were believed to be fake accounts.

Facebook defines a "fake" account in one of three ways:

  • Duplicate Accounts, which are defined as "an account that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account."
  • User-Misclassified Accounts, which are produced when a user creates a personal profiles for a business, organization, or non-human entity (such as a pet).
  • Undesirable Accounts, which are often used for spamming.

If the number of fake accounts remained steady after Facebook obtained its one billionth user, the company would still have 83 billion undesirable, duplicate or user-misclassified accounts.

That being the case, it is almost hard to believe that only 13 million users have never touched their privacy settings.

Maybe this is because the spammers (those with undesirable accounts) use the privacy settings. Perhaps dog lovers also check the privacy settings to make sure that their canine's accounts are not defaced by hackers.

It is also possible that users meticulously check and monitor the privacy settings of their duplicate accounts, as well as their original Facebook pages.

Realistically though, how likely is that to be the case? While the Internet has a way of blowing things out of proportion, it is hard to believe that such a small number of users have never touched their privacy settings.

Whatever the case, at least one independent auditor seems to be satisfied with Facebook's privacy practices.

According to Boston.com, an independent audit found that Facebook's privacy practices were "sufficient" during a six-month assessment period.

"We're encouraged by this confirmation that the controls set out in our privacy program are working as intended," Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer for policy, told Boston.com. "This assessment has also helped us identify areas to work on as Facebook continues to evolve as a company, and improve upon the privacy protections we already have in place. We will keep working to meet the changing and evolving needs of our users and to put user privacy and security at the center of everything we do."

Thus far, only 1.1 million people have "Liked" the company's official privacy page.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Erin Egan Facebook MashableNews Rumors Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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