A recent Facebook study conducted by computer security experts at Sophos shows a significant percentage of Facebook users are willing to share their personal information with total strangers, making them easy targets for online identity theft.
The Sophos Facebook study involved the creation of two fake user profiles: a 21-year-old named ‘Daisy Felettin’ with a toy rubber duck as her profile picture and a 56-year-old named ‘Dinette Stonily’ with a profile picture of two cats.
Each fictitious Facebook profile was used by Sophos to send out 100 friend requests to randomly-selected Facebook users in their age group.
Within two weeks, a total of 95 strangers agreed to become friends with the two fake Facebook profiles.
In addition, the amount of personal information that these people were willing to share with their new fictitious friends was shocking:
– 57% – 89% of the friended Facebook users were willing to share their full date of birth with the two fake profiles.
– 9% – 35% of the users shared a partial date of birth with the stranger profiles.
– 88% – 100% of the users shared their personal email address with the fake profiles.
– 22% – 74% of the users shared their college or workplace info with the profiles.
– 43% – 50% shared their town or suburb location with the fake profiles.
– 4% – 6% shared their full address with the profiles.
– 7% – 23% of people shared their phone numbers with the fake profiles.
– 13% – 18% shared an IM screen name with the profiles.
– 31% – 46% shared their family and friend information with the strangers.
You can watch a video on the Sophos Facebook study findings below: