President Obama isn’t the only one taking online privacy seriously. According to a new poll from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, social network users were far more likely to take steps to protect their privacy in 2011 than they were two years earlier.
The poll found that around two-thirds of all Internet users are on social networking sites. Of those, 44% have deleted a comment someone made on their profile, up from 36% in 2009.
Users are also getting less shy about untagging photos. In 2009, only 30% of social networking site users admitted to untagging photos of themselves; in 2011, that number climbed to 37%.
Young people (ages 18-29) are by far the most diligent when it comes to policing photos for unwanted tags, with 49% deleting their names from photographs, compared to 36% (ages 30-49) and 22% (ages 50-64).
People are also getting smart about who they let see their profiles in the first place. A full 58% of users say that they set their profile so that only friends can see it. Women are a lot better at this than men, with 67% choosing the highest privacy restrictions versus only 48% for guys.
Men, however, lead in another category: posting dumb things they regret. Male users were nearly twice as likely as women to say that they posted updates, comments, photos or videos that they later regretted sharing.
It’s worth noting that when the poll says “social networking sites,” what it mostly means is Facebook. Of the 2,277 people polled, 79% said that Facebook was the main social networking site they used, as compared to only 5% for second-place Twitter.
Of course, the time period covered by the poll predates Facebook Timeline, which — according to an informal Sophos poll taken a month ago — only 16% of Facebook users actually liked.