Consumer Survey:

Consumer Limitations for Data Privacy

In light of recent breaches around the sharing of personal information by Facebook, and consumer concern over data privacy, Rakuten Viber asked U.S. consumers what they thought about their personal information being shared and how they’d react if they knew their data was being shared without their knowledge. Below are the results of that survey.


Objective

Using the Google Consumer Survey (GCS) tool, Viber surveyed 1,500 U.S. consumers to understand their attitudes toward privacy, security and data sharing while using social or messaging applications.

Methodology

U.S. online consumers were polled between March 23 – March 26, 2018 with a total sample size of 1,500 respondents. The survey was weighed against the U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey for age and gender in the United States to be representative of the adult Internet population.

Overview

The majority of consumers today aren’t very concerned with their data privacy when on messaging or social apps and tend to trust that their data is used in a honorable and transparent manner. That said, apps that break consumer trust can have a hard time redeeming themselves, especially if it is tied to selling user information to third parties.

Topline Findings

The majority of consumers trust messaging / social apps when it comes to data privacy and security.

When sending a message on a app, 63% of consumers expect that the only person who can see it is the recipient. Women were even more trusting with over 67% having the same expectation.

Question: When you send a message on an app, do you expect that the person you're messaging is the only one allowed to see that message?

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Female Respondents

Question: When you send a message on an app,do you expect that the person you're messaging is the only one allowed to see that message?

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Examining how often consumers check or update their privacy settings, only a third (33%) noted they reviewed it every six months and just 20% reviewed it every month.

Question: How often do you check or update your privacy settings on social or messaging apps (i.e. Facebook, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Viber) to control how your personal data is shared/used?

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Most consumers feel that their online activities wouldn’t have a negative impact on their lives, if shared publicly.

When asked to identify concerns or the potential impact of their current social posts or chat messages being shared publicly, one in six said they wouldn’t be concerned, while 40% of consumers were most worried that someone could steal their identity.

Question: If your current social posts or chat messages were shared publicly, which of the following choices would be your greatest concern?

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Women are slightly less worried than men about the impact of their online activities going public, with only 8% of women worried they could lose their job, significant other or be accused of illegal activity. Meanwhile, 12% of men expressed the same concerns.

Female Respondents

Question: If your current social posts or chat messages were shared publicly, which of the following choices would be your greatest concern?

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Male Respondents

Question: If your current social posts or chat messages were shared publicly, which of the following choices would be your greatest concern?

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Other Key Findings

Consumers have zero tolerance for backdoor data sharing.

Over half of consumers (55%) noted that they would stop using a messaging or social app if they knew their message could be read or analyzed by advertisers, political managers or government officials.

Question: Would you stop using a messaging or social app if you knew your messages could be read by others, i.e. advertisers, political managers or government officials?

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When it comes to the type of data that could be shared without prior knowledge, consumers are most concerned about their contact details and recorded activity.

One in three consumers (33%) noted they would be most upset if their contact information was shared without their knowledge and one in five (20%) noted they would be upset if information from their recent chats or purchases were shared without their knowledge. However, when it came to sharing their list of friends or contacts on a social app - a less common practice and in the case of Facebook, potentially more damaging - only 10% of respondents noted they would be upset.

Surprisingly, many consumers hadn’t put much thought to data sharing concerns. Roughly 1 in 3 (30%) respondents noted that they don’t know which type of personal data they would be most upset about being shared without their knowledge - surpassing concerns with shared activity information, networks/contact lists and demographics.

Question: If you had to choose from the following options listed below, what type of personal data would you be most upset about being shared without your knowledge?

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Shared data on past purchases or messages was even more of a concern for Millennials with roughly one in four millennial consumers ages 18-24 (23%) and 25-34 (25%) admitting they would be most upset if that type of data was shared without their knowledge.

Respondents ages 18-24

Question: If you had to choose from the following options listed below, what type of personal data would you be most upset about being shared without your knowledge?

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Respondents ages 25-34

Question: If you had to choose from the following options listed below, what type of personal data would you be most upset about being shared without your knowledge?Q8-Consumer Survey Graphs.jpg