John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Survey: 41% of Facebook Users Total IDiots

In an experiment, 41% of Facebook users were willing to divulge highly personal information to a complete stranger. This according to IT security firm Sophos, which invited 200 randomly selected Facebookers to befriend a bogus Facebook user named “Freddi Staur” (an anagram of “ID Fraudster”). Of those queried, 87 responded to the invitation, among them 82 people whose profiles included personal information such as their email address, date of birth, address or phone number. In total:

  • 72% of respondents divulged one or more email address
  • 84% listed their full date of birth
  • 87% provided details about their education or workplace
  • 78% listed their current address or location
  • 23% listed their current phone number
  • 26% provided their instant-messaging screen name

Yikes. You’d think institutional privacy concerns would be enough to make folks think twice about expanding their Facebook networks with reckless gusto, wouldn’t you? Guess not.

“It certainly doesn’t bode well when you’re talking about privacy concerns,” Ron O’Brien, a senior security analyst at Sophos, told InformationWeek. “The information they’re offering up could be just as valuable as credit card information for someone trying to build a profile of you. People need to be more selective about whom they provide information to. … Collecting ‘friends’ is encouraged by social-networking and business-networking sites,” he added. “It’s a status thing to see how many friends or contacts you can rack up. … This was intended to demonstrate to the average user that they need to exercise a lot of caution. The Web is a doorway and it shouldn’t be constantly open.”