Facebook Demographic Numbers Reveal that Web Users Are Lying About Their Ages
The Next Web has a very interesting analysis of Facebook's demographic numbers that could represent some significant trends in attitudes towards privacy and information sharing. Specifically, a lot of users seem to be lying about their ages.
An unusually high number of Facebook users claim to be 18-year-old men. In fact, there are 110 percent as many 18-year-old men on Facebook as census data says there are on earth. There are also unexpectedly high numbers of people claiming to be 21, 26, 36, 46 and 56.
The article speculates that the spikes of people age 18 and 21 are the result of teenagers claiming to be older than they are and older people claiming to be younger than they are. The spikes on the years ending in six likely happened because they correspond with birth years that are round numbers (1990, 1980, 1970, etc.). This suggests that people might be rounding their age to avoid giving away too much personal information. It could also be the result of unscrupulous users setting up fake profiles.
The trend toward lying about your age could have larger implications for other Websites and Web advertising in general.