Men Victimized By Facebook Data Theft More Than Women

Women tend to be more cautious on Facebook than men, according to a Bitdefender survey that validates and quantifies patterns we've long observed on the social network -- and in real life.

Men fall victim to data theft more often than women do on Facebook.

Women tend to be more cautious on Facebook than men, according to a Bitdefender survey of 1,649 men and women in the U.K. and the U.S.

Men are more likely than women to:

  • Accept friendship requests from strangers;
  • Announce their location;
  • Ignore privacy settings;
  • Leave their account searchable to all, and
  • Avoid reading privacy policies on social networks.

Bitdefender notes that everyone surveyed was aware of online security options, and yet the responses to the survey conducted this summer found:

  • 64.2 percent of women always reject friendship requests from strangers on social networks while only 55.4 percent of men did so.
  • 24.5 percent of men leave their social network accounts searchable by strangers, compared with 16 percent of women and
  • 25.6 percent of men share their location while 21.8 percent of women do so.

Interestingly, American men tend to engage in riskier behavior online than their counterparts in the U.K.

Much less surprising: The data showed older respondents exhibiting more caution as they get older.

Bitdefender’s survey validates and quantifies many things we’ve observed in our usage of Facebook.

First of all, we’ve seen that the growing privacy threat that some techies call socialbots, or fake profiles, take the form of femmebots more than not.

When a photo of a hot-looking woman accompanies a friend request, men are likely to click the “confirm” button, whereas the opposite rarely happens.

This predates not just Facebook and social networking, but the Internet too: Society has taught women to be cautious about strange men, because of the unfortunate chance that some might turn out to be rapists.

These risks go beyond the scope of what even Bitdefender might protect against, but that doesn’t mean one ought to forego installing security applications on one’s profile.

Like Bitdefender Senior Social Media Security Researcher George Petre said:

Men expose themselves to risks more than women, especially when accepting friendship from unknown persons. On a positive note, the survey also showed that only about a quarter of users are willing to share their location on social networks, which makes location disclosure an important privacy concern for all users. However, most social network applications, especially the mobile ones, are designed to share this information by default, which opens the door to embarrassing if not truly dangerous situations.

What risk patterns have you seen in the way men and women behave on Facebook, dear readers?