Women and young adults are outpacing other demographics in unfriending on Facebook, according to a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
The latest Pew research shows that the two thirds of Internet users on social networking sites like Facebook are more deliberate in managing their profiles and trying to use privacy settings to protect their online reputations, up from a similar report in 2009.
Among the report’s findings are:
- 63 percent of them have deleted people from their friend lists, up from 56 percent in 2009;
- 44 percent have deleted comments others have made;
- 37 percent have removed their names from photos that were tagged to identify them;
- Young adults are more active unfrienders when compared with older users; and
- Some 67 percent of women who maintain a profile say they have deleted people from their network, compared with 58 percent of men.
Overall, users of Facebook and other social networking sites are culling their friends, monitoring how they are tagged in photos and are more aware of their overall profile online.
Young adults are probably becoming more aware of employers using the site in the job search process. And women are often the targets of online bullying or inappropriate comments, which is why the might delete friends more than others.
However, the survey’s timing practically disqualifies it from validity: it was conducted between April 26 and May 22, 2011, long before Facebook started introducing new privacy tools so users could control who saw their information online. We hope Pew can find a way to do its surveys with a shorter lead time in the future.