Do You Trust Your Social Network?

Obviously the Facebook privacy row caused lots of people to discuss the question of trust on social media sites. One research firm (Vision Critical) conducted a survey of “4,000 randomly-selected adults in the US, UK and Canada” on the question of trust, privacy and social networks. The results came out at the beginning of last month.

There are a number of findings about trust and consumer attitudes toward various media categories. Here’s the relevant “slide” regarding the perceived trustworthiness of social networks:

You can click the image above to enlarge it. What it says is the following (the numbers vary by country but are generally consistent across the board):

  • I am very concerned about my privacy on online social networks: a majority said yes
  • I worry that online social networks are selling my personal information to advertisers: a slight majority said yes
  • I don’t mind online social networks using my personal preferences to target ads I see because it means they’ll be more relevant: only 20% to 25% said “yes” to this idea.

Quit Facebook day was largely a failure, with only 35K joining (out of more than 500 million members globally):

Let’s assume the survey results above are somewhat representative of the larger population of Facebook members. The failure of more of them to quit may reflect ambivalence about the site: people don’t want to leave the party but they may be acting in a more cautious and circumspect way regarding what they’re doing and sharing.

Has your behavior or have your attitudes about posting/sharing on Facebook changed at all in the wake of the recent Open Graph/Social Plug-ins privacy controversy?


4 Responses to “Do You Trust Your Social Network?”

  1. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    I assume this study questioned FB users or users of other networks that set privacy expectations.

    Where FB has upset users is their constant moving of the privacy goalposts. You provide info understanding it would remain semi-private and the FB decides to make it public. I doubt many Twitter users are concerned about privacy since it’s been a 100% public network from day one.

    There’s really two areas for privacy violations: 1) Are you keeping the posts (updates, photos, links, interests) private as you said you would; and 2) Aside of my posts, are you keeping any profile info I give you private (age, sex, location, contact info, etc.)

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Yes this ambivalence is what’s now interesting to me: I’m concerned but I can’t/won’t leave.

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  4. Mick@redcliffe Says:

    Greg, your table doesn’t cover Australian user feedback but there is very high up take rates here. If figures are accurate then Facebook account numbers approximate 50% of the population.

    Choosing to opt-out becomes a big decision as you are removing yourself from a sizable chunk of the community. I just think we will see a shift in personal -> public lives.

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