social-media-privacyWhen it comes to assuring their online privacy, more Americans than ever don’t trust social media networks, according to a new survey about attitudes toward social media privacy produced by Lincoln Park Strategies and Rad Campaign the Craig Newmark Foundation. Moreover, many don’t believe current laws are adequate.

That hasn’t stopped Internet users from making frequent use of social media – quite the contrary in fact. According to survey results, 8 in 10 said they’re using social media daily. Nevertheless 96 percent said they don’t trust that social media network companies will protect their online privacy.

Nearly 4 in 10 respondents (38%) believe current online privacy laws provide reasonable protections. One-third believe they are inadequate, however. Just 5 percent said they thought current privacy laws were too strict or hindered their online activities.

“Use of social media is up, but so is distrust,” Craig’s List founder Craig Newmark was quoted in a press release about the survey on attitudes toward social media privacy. “And many people don’t think our current privacy laws are strong enough.” Newmark helped sponsor the survey.

Attitudes Toward Social Media Privacy
Furthermore, according to the survey results:

  • The percentage of Americans who trust social media has decreased over the past two years;
  • Only 7% of Millennials have a lot of trust that social media sites will protect their privacy and personal information. Their trust of social media sites is down 9% from two years ago.
  • Adults 65+ have the least trust;
  • Of those who use social media the most – at least four social media sites – only 14% have a lot of trust in them;
  • Most of the best-known social media sites are seeing increased usage since 2014, according to responses to survey questions about which sites people use.

Turning to perceived threats, respondents said they were most concerned about downloading a virus or malware (80%), identity theft (75%), insertion of cookies without their consent (72%), and too much personal information being made public (71%).

These numbers have stayed about level over the past two years, Rad Campaign’s Allyson Kapin commented. “It appears almost no one believes any progress is being made to protect people’s online privacy. Social networks need to be good corporate citizens and be fully transparent about how people’s personal data are being used and take the necessary steps to protect their data.”

News of online security breaches that have compromised the private, personal data of millions hasn’t dissuaded Americans from making regular use of social media, Lincoln Park Strategies’ Stefan Hankin added.

“We are however seeing a rising skepticism people hold around the ability for these companies to do the right thing when it comes to privacy and data. Social media need to do the necessary work to build more trust among users.”

Image courtesy of flickr user Bernard Goldbach.

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One thought on “Attitudes Toward Social Media Privacy Survey Finds Increasing Distrust

  1. The first thing that a person needs to do when just getting involved in social media is to make a plan for maintaining their privacy online. I read your blog and it's really good to know some new things.

    Chirag | Designer

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