Adult social media users and location tagging
Many social media sites enable users to set up the service to automatically “tag” their updates on the site with the user’s current location. Our May 2013 survey found that 30% of adult social media users say that at least one of their accounts is currently set up to include their location in their posts, up from 14% who had ever done this in 2011.
Social media users under age 50 are the age group most likely to tag their location on social networking sites, and those living in suburban areas are more likely to say they do this than those living in rural areas. Among social media users, there were no significant differences by gender, education level, or household income.
The demographics of social media users with automatic location-tagging have changed since we last asked about this activity in May 2011. At that time, we found that men, African Americans and Hispanics, adults in households earning less than $30,000 per year, and those who have not gone to college were significantly more likely than other social media users to use automatic location-tagging, and there were no significant differences between different age groups.
Teen social media users and location tagging
Previous surveys have also asked teens ages 12-17 about their social media practices, including location tagging. Our recent report on how teens share personal information and manage privacy settings on social media, “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy,” found that 16% of teen social media users said they set up their profile or account so that it automatically includes their location in posts.
Boys and girls and teens of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds are equally likely to say that they have set up their profile to include their location when they post. However, teen social media users living in suburban areas are significantly more likely to say they tag their location on social networking sites than teens living in rural or urban areas, as shown in the chart below.
Focus group data suggests that many teens find sharing their location unnecessary and unsafe, while others appreciate the opportunity to signal their location to friends and parents.