NEWS31 July 2014

Americans ‘deeply concerned about online privacy’

US — Almost three quarters of Americans worry about the quantity of personal information available online, according to a new poll.

More than half of Americans feel they can’t trust social media sites – such as Facebook and Twitter – to keep their contact information, buying habits and political beliefs confidential, according to data from a poll conducted by Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies and Craig Newmark of craigconnects, the results of which were released today.

The poll collected the views of just over 1,000 Americans aged 18+, and found that mistrust increases with age: those over 65 expressed concern at roughly twice the rate of respondents under 35. This age group also expressed the least trust in social media, were most concerned their data was being sold and felt most strongly that privacy laws need to be strengthened.

“The data shows very clearly that Americans feel manipulated and exposed by the websites they frequent,” said Allyson Kapin, co-founder of Rad Campaign. “That may not stop them from using Facebook and Twitter, or other websites, but they are clearly calling for more safeguards so their personal data does not get sold or used for targeted marketing purposes so easily.”

This fits with findings from a recent survey among UK respondents which indicated that concern about data sharing decreases with age. However, overall 58% of UK respondents said they were ‘unconcerned’ about data sharing.