According to an early 2013 report from ComScore.com, Facebook still maintains the lead for American user engagement for a single web site — averaging a minute short of 6.75 hours per user in the month of Mar 2013.
While this number is a decline from the same period in 2012 (with an average of nearly 7.25 hours per user), it’s obvious that American Facebook users spend a considerable amount of time on the site — more than any other social media site — revealing facts both mundane and interesting about their lives — facts that might be of interest to other people and companies, including those with ill intent.
In fact, according to a study by Alessandro Acquisti discussed in a TED Talk, American employers often judge job candidates who post to social media more harshly than equally skilled candidates who did not post — regardless of whether posts were negative or positive or not even relevant to the potential employer.
How potential employers find your Facebook information about you is beyond the scope of this article, but we do cover some relevant security and privacy statistics and offer some tips to guard yourself.
Privacy and Security Features
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg — who in late 2013 spent an extra $30M buying four extra nearby homes to maintain his real-life privacy — has in the past openly indicated that “privacy is over” and that if he were starting Facebook anew that user information would be public by default. That was nearly three years ago and the company doesn’t seem to have swayed much from that goal.
He has also made comments suggesting that Facebook users don’t care about privacy. Despite this attitude, there are legitimate reasons to maintain your privacy on Facebook and there are ways to do so.
This is not a comprehensive list, but possibly two of the most under-utilized features are “private profile” and friend lists. New Facebook accounts used to be private by default but have since switched to public by default. You need to manually change that setting. As for friend lists, they’re the digital equivalent of social circles. Friends can fall into multiple lists or just one.