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Sophos polls again, claims 93% want opt-in sharing on Facebook

Security firm Sophos has been all over the recent Facebook sharing shenanigans. The company took a little heat over their last poll, which seemed to claim that 60% of Facebook users were considering leaving the site over privacy concerns. Other blogs ran wild with the headline -- making it appear that a mass exodus was on the way and completely overlooking the fact that they had under 1,600 responses.

Their new poll asked whether Facebook should make sharing options opt-in or opt-out by default. An overwhelming majority of respondents -- 93% to be exact -- chose opt-in. That sounds huge, right?

Not so fast.

Here's the thing. This is based on a sampling of 605 people. Facebook's population has surpassed 400 million users, so this sample size really isn't sufficient. It's the equivalent of asking 500 Americans which is better, Coke or Pepsi, lucking into 450 who choose Pepsi, and then announcing "90% of Americans prefer Pepsi to Coke!" To be fair, Sophos does spell out that the poll is unscientific, but we'll see what the blogosphere does with the headline this time.

While I'd like to believe that so many Facebook users are clamoring for more control, the reality is much different. I'd wager that the majority of Facebook's 400+ million users probably don't even know what opt-in and opt-out mean. It would be nice if they did, and it would be nice if they cared -- but based on what I see on my wall every day, average users simply aren't that concerned. They're too busy playing Farmville and uploading pictures.

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Tags: facebook, fail, poll, polls, sophos, statistics