Do people trust the Internet with their information? Facebook has the answer!

Facebook recently conducted a study about how users feel about privacy and data protection online. The results were not surprising at all, taking into account Facebook’s privacy scandals last year.

"The Inclusive Internet Index 2019" study showed how people are feeling less comfortable in sharing personal information online, with passing time. More than 5,000 people around the world were surveyed and different questions regarding their online activities were asked. The perfect way to summarize the study results were that “people no longer trust internet with their personal information”.

The results can adversely affect platforms like Facebook whose source of revenue depends on advertising, which they attract by selling users’ data. The Cambridge Analytica Scandal last year is surely to blame for the rise in privacy fear. Over 50 million users’ data was compromised.

It was revealed that more than half of the surveyed people (52.2%) didn’t feel that the information shared by them online would be safe. The concerning aspect of the study is that the percentage of people hesitating to share information online (this year) is slightly more than last year’s percentage (51.5%).
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According to SimilarWeb and ComScore, Facebook is the third biggest website worldwide and 2nd biggest in America, respectively. Thus, people losing their trust in it and not sharing sufficient information online doesn’t bode well for the biggest social media platform.

Due to the risk of their personal data getting compromised, people are now changing the ways they use internet, to stay on the safe side. It should be noted that successful tech companies rely on user data, as it helps them attract the attention of advertisers, which, in turn, is their primary source of revenue.

How have privacy concerns changed the way you use the Internet?

In Europe however, the percentage of people confident about their privacy online, increased by nearly 8% from last year. This increase can be credited to the introduction of GDPR, a broad set of data privacy rules set by EU. The Regulation was implemented last May.

In addition to that, tech giants like Apple, Google and Facebook have clearly stated that they wouldn’t mind the implementation of similar federal privacy laws in the US as well. After all, the laws can help in restoring the users’ trust in regards to sharing their personal details online.

The study also finds that, "Despite lingering privacy concerns, people are increasingly shopping online." The survey finds that users who "have purchased something online inched higher to 89.5%, from 87.8% in 2018." In addition to that 74.4% respondents say the Internet is more effective than other mediums for finding jobs and 70.5% say their job prospects have improved thanks to the Internet.

The Internet and its impact on livelihoods

Featured Photo: AP / Noah Berger

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