Social networking sites should be more user friendly, providing users with easier ways to delete content from their pages, according to analyst firm Ovum.
Writing in a note on "privacy in the digital age", analyst Graham Titterington commented on a series of issues raised at a recent roundtable discussion held at the Royal Society.
"Social networking sites fail to take account of the fact that people participate in different kinds of friendships and expose different aspects of their lives in each one – the web sites impose a single level of relationship," he wrote.
"Although they often provide privacy protection functionality, this is often difficult to use. They should provide users with easier ways to delete content. "
Social networking giant Facebook angered many users after it revised its privacy settings in December so that more details contained in users' profiles were publicly displayed by default.
Privacy concerns have also become more prominent as security experts warn of an increase in criminal activity designed to steal user credentials and mine personal information on these sites.
Titterington added that, while the use of aggregated personal data has led to some great improvements in public service delivery, "individuals have a legitimate expectation of privacy".
"Guidelines are needed, and we are still a long way from formulating them," he concluded.
"While much of the economy is driven by information, including most marketing activity, there has to be a balance for the economy to prosper. People whose privacy is violated lose trust in systems, further degrading the system's performance."
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