German views mixed on social media

09 March 2012

BERLIN: Almost three-quarters of consumers belonging to social networks in Germany do not believe the benefits they offer outweigh privacy concerns.

A survey of internet users conducted by TNS, the research firm, revealed that 67% thought platforms such as Twitter and Facebook contained an "alarmingly high" amount of personal data.

Moreover, just 28% of interviewees agreed the positives that came from utilising these services failed to outweigh their worries concerning the protection of information.

Overall, 78% of the German online population concurred that they "highly valued" the safeguarding of these details on the internet, the poll found.

This compared with totals of 77% recorded in similar research covering Austria, 76% in South Korea, 75% in Switzerland and 74% in both Norway and Taiwan.

By contrast, the number of people who were "worried" about this problem fell to a low of 36% in Vietnam and 37% and Denmark.

More broadly, the analysis revealed that, despite their concerns, a majority of the German internet population regularly visited social networks.

Further, the web users who were most concerned about privacy also spent more time online, at 16 hours a week, than those that did not, on 14 hours.

A 40% share of the sample dealt with their worries about data security by uploading the minimum amount of sensitive data possible, Susanne Klar, of TNS, added.

"Consumers are clearly in conflict between their personal data protection requirements and the opportunity to participate in social networking," she continued.

"They see the benefits of these sites, such as the opportunity to chat with friends, meaning their privacy concerns are either exchanged, forgotten or simply displaced."

Data sourced from TNS; additional content by Warc staff