London, United Kingdom, October 31, 2018 --(PR.com
)-- A new survey reveals the level of trust which the British public has in businesses, organisations and others when it comes to the appropriate and secure treatment of their personal data.
The survey, by British researchers Novorda, was carried out in early October using a representative cross sample of everyday people from all parts of the UK, and highlights levels of trust - or lack of trust - around security of personal data.
Novorda commissioned the survey to examine the attitudes towards, and perceptions of, how data is handled by government, commerce, charity and in personal life - the Private, Public, Third Sector and Home fronts. A special sampling of smartphone users was carried out, in order to compare and contrast the more tech-savvy and data-aware demographics with the attitudes of the public at large.
The key findings, according to Novorda CEO Dr. Douglas Watson, show that PR disasters such as the Cambridge Analytica affair have damaged the reputation of social media providers, while also revealing a few wider surprises.
Speaking as Novorda launched a document summarising the key findings of the poll, Dr. Watson observed that:
"2018 has been a watershed in the public's opinion of data honesty, transparency and security. It draws into its final quarter in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the concerns about "fake news" and fake user accounts on social media, the widespread accusations that democracy itself is under threat from the misuse of personal data, and a long litany of headlines about hacks and breaches at household name organisations.
"Social media platforms in particular have a lot of work to do in terms of restoring confidence.
"Among the smartphone generation, for example, just over 1 in 10 of people now trust social media to handle their data with due care and attention. In contrast, the same demographic is five times more likely to trust the Government and nearly six times more likely to trust banks.
"At the height of the financial crisis last decade that would have been unthinkable. It clearly shows that trust in social media providers has suffered substantial damage in the court of public opinion.
"It's also significant that in an era of general cynicism towards authority, people are more likely to trust the state than social media.
"Social media platforms are, on the evidence of this survey, in the process of moving from being channels of free, democratic, mass individual digital communication, to becoming a perceived part of what might be termed the 'Digital Establishment' or 'The-Powers-That-Be-2.0' - which is not a good place to be."
The survey also reveals that:
- Friends and family are the most trusted, with nearly three-quarters of people believing their loved ones will handle their personal information with respect when online.
- Just over half of Brits trust their employer's handling of personal data.
- Just over 1 in 4 trust online retailers to handle their data appropriately.
"None of this is actually good news for anyone looking to make money from the digital economy," Dr. Watson added, "as neither charities, nor researchers, nor retailers score particularly well. It's not just social media, its more widespread.
"The likes of Facebook and Twitter may be the most notable players registering a trust deficit, but they are by no means alone."
The document summarising the findings of the survey is available on request from Novorda.
Novorda is a multi-sector research consultancy based in the UK.