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New survey shows how much consumers trust social media sites

Findings suggest that customer privacy should be a top priority for social media companies

Photo (c) VioletaStoimenova - Getty Images
What would our lives be like if Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram had never come on the scene? How much time have we given away to our devices that we’ll never get back? How much of our personal data -- where we live, who our friends are, what we eat and drink, what teams we root for, and where we work -- have we given away to data collectors and hackers?

In a new survey from Grand Canyon University, 1,162 people were asked about their opinions on social media data privacy and confessed that while social media often brings them together, it also has some negative side effects. 

The findings

The respondents were asked to assess how safe they feel their data is on social media sites, which social media platforms they trust most and least, and how far they’ve gone to make sure their accounts are secure. 

Some of the more interesting insights included:

Have you been hacked? Close to one-third (32%) of the respondents admitted that they have had their data hacked on a social media site. Who’s the biggest culprit? Facebook, which has been hacked or had its users' data exploited more times than it probably wishes to count.

Have you deleted a social media account because of social media concerns? Here’s where things start to get a bit unnerving. Almost half (48%) of the people surveyed say they’ve deleted a social media account due to privacy concerns.

“With such high rates of deletion for privacy concerns, it is clear that customer privacy and online safety should be a top priority for social media companies who make more money from high numbers of active users,” the researchers said. “For many individuals, the question of whether companies will actually work to improve privacy is very important.”

Do you trust social media? When asked whether they trust social media, it was an even 50/50 split. Half of the respondents said they trust social media (50.3%), while the other half (49.7%) said they don’t. 

Which platforms do you trust the most? The survey takers asked respondents to plot out how much trust they put in social media platforms on a scale of 1-10. While many may not think of YouTube as a standard social media platform, it topped the list with a rating of 6.1. That was followed by Twitter with a score of 5.7. TikTok -- which has been hit by hackers and lawmakers alike -- earned the lowest average trust rating of only 4.3. 

What are you doing to protect yourself on social media? The two most common approaches (59%) that respondents use to stay safe are only connecting with people they know and manually reviewing social media platforms’ privacy settings. Where most social media users leave themselves vulnerable is staying logged into an account after they’ve used it (65%) and not employing unique passwords for social media accounts (55%).

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