Zogby Analytics conducted an online nationwide survey of 1,176 digital users in the U.S. 4/26/18 - 5/1/18. Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error for 1,176 is +/- 2.9 percentage points.
According to the survey results, most (41%) felt their personal information was being used dishonestly by social media platforms, while nearly a third did not think so, and 27% were not sure. This comes in the wake of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandals that saw tens of millions of Facebook users' personal data being accessed for political purposes during the 2016 presidential campaign, unbeknownst to those social media users. The backlash since this news broke has been severe: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled in front congress and Cambridge Analytica was forced to shut down.
Now while digital users are skeptical of what's done with their personal data, it's still ironic after all the revelations in the last few years, from Edward Snowden to other controversies surrounding the FISA and the Patriot Acts, that anyone would think their personal data is safe on social media.
Most demographics followed suit with the overall results, with exception to a few. Age was one situation that was counterintuitive. More (42%) younger digital users aged 18-24 felt social media platforms were using their information dishonestly, compared to fewer (26%) older digital users aged 70+. More than a third (37%) of older digital users aged 70+ felt that nothing nefarious was going on with their personal information compared to 32% of 18-24 year olds who felt the same way. Income was also a factor in how people trusted social media utilizing their personal data. Lower income (annual income < $25k) digital users were most likely to trust social media and their personal data; 34% of this demographic said they thought social media used their personal information dishonestly, while 41% said no. A majority (55%) of upper income (annual income of $75-$100k) digital users were not trusting of social media and their personal data, while a quarter thought social media networks were doing nothing dishonest. Nearly half (48%) of digital users in the creative job sector-those who work in STEM jobs-felt their data was being used dishonestly compared to 39% of those who do not work in the creative job sector.