Most Facebook Users Change Privacy Settings and For Good Reason
Facebook has announced some long over-due changes today – primarily the ability for users to approve tags, including photo tags, before those tags show up live on their profile. Now, when a friend tags you, a dialogue box asks you to choose from a set of options, including removing the tag. These changes come hot on the heels of Google + becoming more widely available, and they are all things that G+ already does. Interestingly, and in a classic Facebook move, though these alterations will be launched later this week, they will not be default. The default setting will still be that any photos in which friends have you tagged, will automatically go live on your profile. Users will have to go into their privacy setting and toggle the approval feature to an ‘on’ position.

A recent Retrevo Gadgetology study discovered a large percentage (76%) of Facebook users saying they’ve changed their privacy settings. That’s probably a good thing for Facebook users but it doesn’t say a lot about how much Facebook default settings are in synch with the average user. It’s a good thing for Facebook users because this study also found that Facebook has become a very popular way for people to check each other out both socially and for business.

Default Facebook Settings Are Not What Everyone Wants

How much you leave your page open for others to check you out depends on your Facebook privacy settings. Facebook has responded to “feedback” over the years with adjustments to default settings. We’re not sure whether everyone feels the default settings are not what they need or they just want to fine-tune their settings but this study found that an overwhelming majority of Facebook users have changed their privacy settings. At least Facebook appears to have made it easy enough to do as only 17% in this study said they don’t know how to change their privacy settings.
Facebook is the New Background Checker
Facebook is not just the place to share things with your friends but is now a popular way for everyone to check everyone out. Whether it’s a potential date, a new social contact, parents and their kid’s friends, parents of their kid’s friends, a business client, or you name it, a lot can be learned from someone’s Facebook page especially if access is available through a mutual friend or privacy settings that allow others access.
Although both men and women admit to using Facebook to check out social and business contacts, more men (38%) than women (35%) say they have looked up someone they met socially however, men (29%) are much more likely than women (19%) to check out the Facebook page of a potential date. Women (68%) are significantly more active than men (51%) when it comes to checking the comings and goings of family members on Facebook. Checking social contacts on Facebook is almost as common as checking out business contacts with 33% of men and women checking out a potential client or service provider compared to 37% checking out someone they met at a party or some other social connection.

Your Facebook Page Could Hurt Your Social Life

Your Facebook page may not be the most important factor in potential social or business relationships but it can be a factor, as we saw 22% of women saying someone’s Facebook page made them not want to be friends with them. It appears that men are more inclined to be affected by someone’s page as twice as many men than women indicating they were more attracted to someone because of their Facebook page. In the business world it appears that a good Facebook page can help persuade someone to do business as 21% of men saying a Facebook page made them more inclined to do business with someone.

If you’re in the small group of Facebook users who haven’t changed their privacy settings you may want to stop reading this and go make some adjustments. The reason we recommend that is because your Facebook page could be a big influence in everything from getting a date to getting a business contract.

About Retrevo Gadgetology Report
The Retrevo Gadgetology Report is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo.com. The data for this report came from a study of online individuals conducted exclusively for Retrevo in June of 2011, by an independent panel. The sample size was over 1,000 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. Most responses have a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.
About Retrevo
Retrevo.com is one of the largest consumer electronics review and shopping sites in the world, helping people decide what to buy, when to buy, and where to buy. Retrevo uses artificial intelligence to analyze and graphically summarize more than 100 million real-time data points from across the web to give shoppers the most comprehensive, unbiased, up-to-date product information they need to make smart, confident purchasing decisions for electronics.
To contact Retrevo’s press department about this study, please email: press “at” retrevo “dot” com.

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