Saturday 23 March 2019

Irish social media users deactivating accounts as concerns over data privacy intensify

social media
social media
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Over one quarter of Irish adults have deactivated at least one of their social media accounts as the protection of personal data becomes increasingly important.

According to a survey by Pure Telecom, just 4pc of people have complete faith that online networks will safeguard their information, with less than one third (31pc) trusting them at all.

It appears that men have been quicker to take action as 30pc have completely closed down at least one of their profiles, compared to 23pc of women.

A generation divide was revealed in the study of over 1,000 Irish adults, with a larger proportion of the generation Z and millennial brigade (42pc) having more trust in social media. This compares to less than a quarter (23pc) of those aged over 36.

Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom
Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom

Perhaps surprisingly, geography is also a factor in terms of level of trust, as those from counties Co Carlow, Co Westmeath and Co Cavan having the most confidence in social networks.

Co Meath, meanwhile, had the least faith in platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, followed closely by Co Leitrim, Co Kilkenny and Co Tipperary.

As regards decativations, the counties taking most action were Co Longford (60pc), Co Westmeath (56pc) and Co Clare (39pc).

CEO Pure Telecom Paul Connell said that there has never been as much of a focus on the privacy of social media users and the security of their personal data.

"What these results show is that people have serious doubts about how their information is being handled and have lost confidence in social media networks," he said.

But even when a network introduces additional privacy settings, a quarter of people don't even read the detail before accepting the update - and 13pc take no notice of the update at all.

Barriers cited in terms of learning more about the privacy updates are that they are time-consuming and confusing.

However, an awareness around data privacy is growing across the nation as 28pc have changed their platform settings in the last month and 16pc have adjusted theirs over the last three months.

But while a quarter of users feel that the responsibility for the privacy of their data lies with them, the majority (46pc) believe that the onus falls on the social media network.

Online Editors

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