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Bebo edges out Facebook in social networking poll

Bebo has been named the safest and most user-friendly social networking site, edging out rivals MySpace and Facebook, in a poll conducted by Computing Which? magazine. The survey, which looked at ease of use, functions and overall performance of social networking sites, praised Bebo for its safety and security and for allowing users to easily restrict information and unwanted visitors. Bebo scored an overall 79% in the survey; followed by Facebook which polled 74%; News Corporation-owned MySpace with 67%; Microsoft's Windows Live scored 65%; Friends Reunited was awarded 62%; while Yahoo! Groups came 10th and last with 59%. Which? said Yahoo! Groups lagged behind its rivals. It was described as "less sophisticated", lacking many of the features users expect from social networking sites. Meanwhile, the magazine gave BBC Talk and the niche social networking site Saga Zone, which targets the over 50s, five star ratings for their overall performance. Bebo was praised for giving users comprehensive advice on online security issues and for its functions. Facebook was commended for its "easy to use interface and navigation", but was marked down for having confusing security settings. Facebook was also criticised for not making it clear how a user can permanently delete their account. MySpace ranked well for its breadth of profile customisation, but Which? said users could end up with a "gaudy browsing experience". Abigail Waraker, editor of Computing Which?, said: "Social networking sites are growing in popularity and, as the success of Bebo in our tests shows, sites like MySpace and Facebook can't rest on their laurels if they want to stay in the game." Last month, Joanna Shields, president of Bebo, unveiled the company's open application platform; a system allowing brands and advertisers to create tailored applications which are compatible on rival site Facebook.

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