There is a significant gender gap when it comes to the way social media users manage their online profiles. Women are much more conservative in the basic settings they choose on social media sites — 67% restrict access to friends only, compared with 48% of men who do so. Likewise, men are more likely to make their profiles only partially private (23% vs. 16%) or fully public (26% vs. 14%).

When looking at social media usage patterns, age tends to be one of the strongest variables. However, when it comes to basic privacy settings, users of all ages are equally likely to choose private, semi-private or public settings for their profile. There are also no significant variations across age groups.

Similarly, the choices that adults make regarding their social media privacy settings are virtually identical to those of teenage users. Close to two-thirds (62%) of teens allow only their friends to see content they post; one in five (19%) allow friends of friends (or their networks) to see some version of their profile; and just 17% allow everyone to see their profile. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) adult users set their main profile to private, 19% use a partially private setting and 20% make their profile completely public. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.