Facebook anxiety and privacy paranoia

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

FB world connect
Is there such a thing as being too connected?

When me and my friends first made the switch from Myspace to Facebook, we were impressed with how much easier it was to talk to each other. I could see their most recent status updates, browse their photos, and let them know what I was up to from day to day. It was great! Now however, it appears more people are deleting their Facebook pages, and according to researchers from the University of Vienna, one of the main reasons is because of privacy concerns.

Privacy? What, like they’re worried too many of their friends can see their pictures or something? Actually, it’s more like they’re worried the government is spying on them! The researchers examined 300 volunteers who deleted their Facebooks and compared them to 300 people who didn’t. Some of the questions researchers asked were how frequently participants went on the internet (to see if they were addicted) and how concerned they were with privacy. Also, the researchers measured different personality traits such as anxiety, honesty, manners, and sociability.

According to the study results, one of the main reasons people are deleting their Facebook page is because of privacy fears, especially from the government. “Given high profile stories such as WikiLeaks and the recent NSA surveillance reports, individual citizens are becoming increasingly more wary of cyber-related privacy concerns,” said Brenda K. Wiederhold, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, the journal that published the study. “With photo tags, profiling, and internet dependency issues, [the] research… is very timely.” Some of the other reasons individuals were leaving the social media site was because they were bored, felt that their conversations were shallow, or concerned about getting addicted.

Featured image courtesy of MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr. Image of Facebook global connections courtesy of Duncan Hill on Flickr.