Online Privacy Policy Confusion Could Curb Social Usage

Privacy Policies Confound Consumers: An April 2012 by Siegel+Gale finds confusion and frustration among consumers regarding Facebook and Google privacy policies. The study of more than 400 respondents found that users have little understanding of how Facebook and Google track and store user information and activity, and how information is shared and with whom.

On a scale of 0 to 100 (with a score of 80 indicating good comprehension), respondents who reviewed Facebook’s and Google’s privacy policies scored 39 and 36, respectively—demonstrating low comprehension. This could have an impact on digital campaigns, as 36% of Facebook respondents and 37% of Google respondents said they would change their online behavior by using these sites less, adjusting their privacy settings and clearing their search histories.

Other findings:

  • Google and Facebook privacy policies are more confusing to users than credit card agreements and government notices. In similar studies, on average, 70% of respondents correctly answered comprehension questions for government notices and 68% of respondents provided the right answers for credit card agreements, far more than the percent of readers who correctly answered questions about Facebook’s and Google’s privacy policies.

  • 47% of respondents feel comfortable with how Google collects and stores information about activity. Only 33% of Facebook users feel comfortable.

  • Only 15% of users correctly understand what happens to their accounts after they’re deleted on Facebook.

  • Just 20% of respondents could correctly identify how to block outside applications and Web sites from accessing their information on Facebook.

  • Only 38% understand that Google connects search activity to a user’s IP address whether or not they sign into a Google account. 


Source: Siegel+Gale 

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