STUDY: Majority of Americans Not Confident in Social Media Privacy

May 21, 2015

8:00 pm

According to a report released yesterday by the Pew Research Center, the majority of adults in the United States (69 percent of them) aren’t confident that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will keep their personal data private and secure.

The report by Pew aimed to explore overall American sentiments regarding privacy – how important it is to them, whether they feel they’re under some threat of constant surveillance, and what level of trust they have in various sectors when it comes to data collection and monitoring. Overwhelmingly, the results from the surveys conducted by Pew showed that a majority of American adults believe it is important or very important they have the ability to maintain privacy and confidentiality in the everyday activities of their lives.

Looking at the data from Pew, 93 percent of Americans believe that being in control of who can get information on you is important to to them – with 74 percent considering it very important. Pew also founded that 90 percent of U.S. adults believe that it’s important the people have control over what information is collected about them.

social media privacy

The most important part of the report, though, is the measure of confidence that Americans have in various companies and organizations. In a separate survey from Pew, Americans believed that credit card companies are actually the most trustyworthy when it comes to keeping their data private and secure, with 38 percent of those surveyed confident that credit card companies are keeping that information secure compared to 31 percent when it comes to government agencies. I mean, undoubtedly, those numbers are not at all promising, but they fare much better when compared to social media sites, which stands at an embarrassingly low 11 percent confidence.

social media privacy

The report comes at a time when there’s a growing concern regarding Internet freedom. Just this morning, TechCrunch reported that the Facebook Messenger app will begin showing publicly shared biographical info with people you’ve never chatted with previously – something with which I’m sure some people will have issues. Despite recent claims by social media companies like Facebook that privacy is of utmost important to its users, it seems that the overwhelming number of Americans continue to lack confidence in such rhetoric.

Take a look at the full study from Pew.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things.

Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in ‘Doctor Who’, Murakami, ‘The Mindy Project’, and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a “writer”. Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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