Social media, privacy key in Germany

07 June 2011

BERLIN: Social networking, data protection and transparency among service providers are some of the key issues shaping German attitudes to the web, a survey has shown.

Microsoft, the IT giant, commissioned research firm TNS Infratest to poll 1,137 adults regarding their online opinions and behaviours.

The results showed more than 80% of netizens below 30 years of age old have joined sites such as Facebook and StudiVZ.

Indeed, this figure has even reached 50% for members of the country's internet population under 50 years old, suggesting uptake is becoming increasingly mainstream.

Meanwhile, the share of respondents worried that their data was being misused rose on an annual basis, climbing from 49.3% to 53.5%.

A 50.6% majority of interviewees believed they were primarily responsible for safeguarding their own information, although 64.2% revealed that they had taken insufficient measures in this regard to date.

Just a third of the sample currently ring fence all their personal data, with another half placing partial restrictions on this information.

Additionally, 17.5% of contributors aged 30 years old and below had "no concerns" about entering a wide variety of details on these platforms without limiting external access in any way.

Elsewhere, 60.5% expressed a desire for greater clarity and transparency covering this matter on the part of internet companies.

However, the proportion bemoaning the absence of simple control options fell from 62% to 49% year on year, meaning a degree of progress may have been noted by consumers.

Data sourced from Welt Online/Microsoft; additional content by Warc staff