9 in 10 Online Americans Worry About Their Privacy When Using Social Networks

February 5, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Financial Services | Mobile Phone | Privacy & Security | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media | Tablet

TRUSTe-Growing-Privacy-Concerns-Across-Popular-Online-Activities-Feb201492% of American internet users report worrying about their privacy online at least sometimes, a figure that has remained consistent over the past couple of years, per recent research from TRUSTe conducted by Harris Interactive. Privacy concerns are on the rise across several popular online activities, though: 93% are at least sometimes worried when shopping online (up from 89% last year), and 9 in 10 harbor some concerns when banking online (up from 86%) and using social networks (up from 87%).

Not surprisingly, privacy concerns abound regarding mobile application use, with the 85% reporting some worries this year up 8 points from last year’s survey. Last year, research from Pew found that half of US teens had avoided an app based on privacy concerns.

The TRUSTe report, meanwhile, finds eroding levels of trust in businesses: only 55% agree that they trust most companies with their personal information online, down a couple of points from last year’s study, which in turn was down a couple of points from the prior year. Moreover, despite the revelations of NSA snooping, more respondents to the survey said that they are concerned with businesses sharing their personal information with other companies (58%) than of reports of government surveillance (38%).

All these worries have tangible impacts on businesses: 89% of consumers agree that they will avoid doing business with companies who they do not believe protect their privacy online, with that figure rising to 96% among the 65+ crowd. Additionally, 83% of respondents report being less likely to click on an online ad due to privacy concerns, while 80% are less likely to use apps they don’t trust and 74% to enable location tracking.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey conducted by Harris Interactive from December 11-13, 2013 among 2,019 U.S. adults age 18 and older. The study is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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