Safety in numbers on Facebook

Some 400,000 Greeks who have created a page on the social networking website Facebook do not believe there are any risks involved in using the site or in posting personal information, according to new statistics. Facebook allows people to post a page of personal information and photographs to which others have controlled access. It is also used as a way of tracing long-lost friends or people with similar interests and professions, and to join up with various common interest groups. According to a survey by the University of the Aegean, Greek users spend an average of three to four hours a week on Facebook working on their own page, posting photographs, playing quizzes or one of the many other applications, of which the Facebook chatroom is the most popular for 45.5 percent of users. As part of the survey, led by Associate Professor Evstratios Papanis, students posted fake profiles on Facebook and were approached by a total of 825 people, only 200 of whom agreed to be interviewed. The majority said they do not believe the time they spend online affects their work or entails any dangers and have not made personal contact with anyone they have met online. However, 90 percent of gay members of Facebook admitted they do use the site to meet people. Debrett’s etiquette bible cautions against making friends with people one doesn’t know, and waiting 24 hours before accepting or removing someone as a «friend.» It advises sticking to phone calls and cards to wish friends happy birthday – these, along with engagements and weddings, they say, are not «virtual» events. It warns against posting a friend’s photo and to think carefully about one’s own profile picture. About 55 percent of Facebook’s Greek «friends» are women, 49 percent are single, 47 percent are students and 27 percent are in full-time employment. Nearly three-quarters have a tertiary degree and nearly half live in Athens or Thessaloniki. According to the survey, 35.8 percent of the site’s users in Greece are aged 18-24. Another survey by Search Engine Marketing found that the 400,000 Greek users of Facebook represent 17 percent of all Greek Internet users.