Sep 18 | By Brandon Jarman
81% of people are more concerned about their social privacy than the year prior. 53% create unique passwords for each of their social media accounts. 69% have deleted or thought of deleting a social media account because of recent social media data breaches. People are taking steps to protect their personal information from being hacked or leaking to the public.
With Data Privacy Day on January 28th, the people at Go.Verizon used Pollfish to survey 1,000 Americans, asking what Americans think about their privacy on social media, the use of their data, and which platform they are most private on. This is what we found.
Facebook has been around for nearly two decades, and it shows. With almost 3 billion users worldwide as of 2021, Facebook is now the largest global social media platform. No wonder more people are more private on Facebook than any other social network, according to our latest survey results. Even with TikTok’s questionable information-gathering practices, people are far more “lax” on privacy on the video-sharing app.
Why do Americans sometimes go with a public account rather than a safer private account? Some don’t mind sharing their personal information for their friends, family, and others to see, while 42% of those surveyed want to become influencers on social media.
According to our survey, most Americans keep up to date with social media data breaches. With Facebook’s and LinkedIn’s 2021 data hacks that exposed millions of people’s personal information, it’s no surprise that 81% of those we surveyed are at least somewhat concerned about their privacy on social media. Seemingly because of this, 79% of those we surveyed said they checked their advanced privacy settings when they first joined a social media platform with another 62% checking these same settings in the past year.
These massive breaches of privacy are concerning, and some may feel like nothing can be done about them. Fortunately, people know about the common password resources, with 62% of people using two- or three-factor authentication and 46% regularly changing their password. Another 53% of the people we surveyed said they have unique passwords for each of their accounts, so if they get hacked, it only affects one account and not all of their accounts at once.
Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But when it comes to personal or business social accounts, it can be highly frustrating. Half of our respondents said a fake account imitated their personal or business social accounts. Another 58% said their personal or business accounts were hacked. These hackers aren’t just looking for a joyride on your account, either. There have been reports that scammers are using fake accounts or hacking into your account to make money using a cryptocurrency scam.
Then there are those with separate private or “fake” social accounts for close friends. While your “regular” social account may include the best moments of your life, a Finsta or FikFok would show more personal, funny, embarrassing moments. Some save their most private details for these accounts. Surprisingly enough, more than half of our respondents have a fake social account, but it’s to keep more personal things private amongst their closest compadres.
When social companies monetize your data, they’re not necessarily selling your data for money. Most of the time, they’re using the data you’ve willingly shared to send you specific ads and posts that may interest you, which in turn, make them advertising money. Still, 90% of people are at least somewhat concerned that these companies make money off of their information. While some feel it’s an invasion of privacy, others wish they had a slice of the pie. Their logic: if social companies are making money off of their data, then these same social companies should compensate the individual for it. 14% of people don’t mind data monetization, saying it’s a fair trade—free social account in exchange for personal information.
Social Privacy is Ultimately in Your Hands
People are concerned about their social privacy, from data monetization to potential hacks and spam. There are tools to keep your social accounts safe and private, including two- and three-step authentication and random auto-generated passwords. Some have turned to making fake social accounts to keep their most private information for a select few. Wherever you land on this spectrum, it’s safe to say that your social account is a massive pool of personal information, and you can control how much is shared. Public or private, social media or no social media—it’s all up to you.
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