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Consumers are most concerned about these social networks

Consumers are concerned about social media privacy.

Two social media platforms cause roughly two-thirds of consumers worries over having their online data collected.

According to a new survey of U.S. consumers from Forbes Advisor, 65% of respondents said they are concerned that TikTok collects their online data, and 64% said the same about Facebook.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they have online privacy concerns regarding both Instagram and Snapchat. More than half of respondents also said they are worried about data collection by social networks such as WhatsApp (55%), Twitter (which had not changed its name to X at the time of the survey – 53%), and Reddit (52%). Forty-six percent expressed online privacy concerns regarding ByteDance, another social app from the Chinese parent company of TikTok.

Consumers feel like somebody’s watching them

  • 45% of respondents believe they are being tracked and monitored online, by both the government and by companies, daily.
  • 30% of respondents feel their online activities are being surveilled by government agencies on a weekly basis, while nearly 30% believe their online activity is being monitored weekly by companies.
  • 57% of respondents were concerned with government tracking and 46% had similar concerns regarding online tracking by companies.
  • A small percentage (16%) of respondents felt safe with government tracking and 17% felt comfortable with companies monitoring their online activity.

Varying views on control

  • 41% of respondents believed they had control over their online activity. A larger percentage (46% to 47%) of participants felt they had more control over the websites they visited as well as their online purchases. 39% felt they had less control over their online search privacy as well as calls and texts (43%).
  • 39% of participants believed they had control over their social media activity, while just 31% felt the same about their location data.
  • 8% of respondents felt they had no control over access to their personal information, while 7% were unsure and 1% preferred not to say.

A matter of trust

The survey results indicate that most consumers have some level of trust that companies will admit when they misuse their online data.

  • Around 60% of respondents were confident that companies would publicly admit when data was used without their consent.
  • 22% of respondents claimed they were not confident.
  • 33% of respondents usually read the terms of service and privacy policies before agreeing to them and 23% said they always read them .
  • Stolen credit card and bank information is the top worry for a leading 31% of respondents. Following that was identity theft, which wasn’t too far behind at 25%. In addition, 17% of respondents expressed concern about the security of their health information, as medical records contain sensitive information, and 10% worried about location tracking. Tracking purchases was a worry for only 5% of people.

Other findings

  • 90% of respondents actively take measures to secure their personal data online. 
  • 24% of respondents find targeted ads helpful, while a slightly larger proportion (25%) find them off-putting. Following closely behind, 21% find targeted ads frightening; while 17% reported feeling neutral about targeted ads.

Forbes Advisor commissioned an online survey of 2,000 general population Americans that was conducted by market research company OnePoll.

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