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Social networking sites: Almost two thirds of users enter false information to protect identity


London, UK - 18 September 2007 - Nearly two thirds (62%) of networking sites users say they are worried about the safety of their personal data held on these sites, reveals a survey conducted by email research specialists, emedia, using its RapidResearch service. The concern is so high that almost one third of users (31%) have already entered false information about themselves to protect their identity.

Andrea Simmons, Consultant Security Forum Manager at British Computer Society comments, “As we become citizens of cyberspace and with social networking sites making details of members visible through public search engines, we need to learn how to use privacy settings in better ways and use computers safely.”

Users of social networking sites visit these sites on a regular basis and almost half of them (48%) admit using these websites at work. Nearly one in four (24%) users log in every day with half of them logging in several times a day. Up to 45% of users log in at least once a week.

The research shows that 81% of those surveyed use networking sites. The top five websites respondents have heard off are MySpace (89%), YouTube (88%), Friends Reunited (81%), Facebook (73%) and Bebo (51%). But the most popular sites amongst users are Friends Reunited (47%), YouTube (42%), MySpace (39%), Facebook (26%) and LinkedIn (19%).

Respondents keep in touch with various contacts amongst their social network, including friends (46%), colleagues (24%) and even client or potential clients (8%). Those surveyed visit social networking sites for personal and professional reasons, with 67% contacting old friends and reinforcing existing friendships and over one in ten (11%) using them as a tool for business purposes.

The survey indicates that 87% of all respondents think social networking sites can be used for business purposes including networking (65%), exchanging ideas (58%), getting advice (44%), recruitment (43%), research (35%) and selling (31%). Half of users find advertising on social networking sites intrusive. Interestingly 72% of users opted out to email newsletters from these sites and up to 93% opted out to email newsletters from selected third parties.


emedia’s online surveys quickly and effectively measure responses at a point in time and the same survey may, when executed at a different time, yield different results.  Rate of change will vary according to whether the responses are based on knowledge, fashion, attitude or value, ordered by decreasing rate of change. emedia surveys attract sufficient responses to be statistically representative and prove to be useful for later comparison.

Editors notes

Copies of the survey are available from Omarketing at +44 (0)208 255 5225.

The ‘RapidResearch Social Networking Sites Survey’ focused on computer users views of social networking sites and was concluded in August 2007. Over 100 individuals replied.

Respondent age group

Under 25   3%
25 – 30     7%
31 – 40     30%
41 – 50     20%
51 – 65     20%
65+           3%
Prefer not to answer 16%

About RapidResearch

RapidResearch is a quick and snappy online survey tool that enables highly targeted snapshot canvassing of opinion from senior managers across UK industries using emedia’s portfolio of B2B opt-in bulletins.

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About emedia
emedia has been providing Internet marketing solutions to the business community since 1998.

emedia specialises in permission-based email direct marketing. It serves clients by using direct response email bulletins to acquire new business, increase brand awareness, website traffic and more. The range of over 100 bulletins have over three million subscribers in total and reach professionals in a variety of sectors including IT, human resources, construction, finance, marketing, education, electronics, construction and healthcare.

emedia provides both unrivalled direct marketing experience and the technology infrastructure needed for businesses to successfully market to and communicate with thousands of our subscribers.

The emedia team handles all aspects of permission-based email messaging campaigns, including selecting the right bulletin to fit clients' needs and target the people that they want to reach, designing email messages, testing and deploying email messaging campaigns and the tracking, reporting and analysis of results.

emedia clients include: Microsoft, BT, Croner Gartner Group, IBM, Sage, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Hewlett-Packard, The Open University, Totaljobs and Cranfield School of Management.

More information at