Profile “pruning” is on the rise. Deleting unwanted friends, comments and photo tags grows in popularity.
Over time, as social networking sites have become a mainstream communications channel in everyday life, profile owners have become more active managers of their profiles and the content that is posted by others in their networks.
According to a new Pew Internet study, two-thirds of profile owners (63%) have deleted people from their networks or friend lists, up from 56% in 2009. Another 44% say they have deleted comments that others have made on their profile, up from just 36% two years prior.
And as photo tagging has become more automated on sites like Facebook, users have become more likely to remove their names from photos that were tagged to identify them; 37% of profile owners have done this, up from 30% in 2009.
Deleting social media comments is part of the reputation management work of being a young adult.
All users have become more likely to delete comments on their profiles over time, but this is especially true of young adults.
It is now the case that 56% of social media users ages 18-29 say they have deleted comments that others have made on their profile, compared with 40% of those ages 30-49, 34% of those ages 50-64 and 26% of social media users ages 65 and older.
In contrast to the gender differences with unfriending, male and female social media users are equally as likely to say that they have deleted comments that others have made on their profile (44% of men and women report this).
The task of removing photo tags is also much more common among young adults.
Whether because there are simply more photos being shared or there is more sensitivity to their content, young adult social media users are the most likely age group to report removal of photo tags.
Fully half of young adult social media users (49%) say they have deleted their name from photos that were tagged to identify them.
That compares to 36% of social media users ages 30-49, 22% of those ages 50-64 and only 16% of those ages 65 and older. As with comments, there are no significant gender differences; male and female users are equally likely to delete photo tags (36% vs. 38%).