LONDON: Following the fallout from Facebook’s privacy breach, a study shows British consumers’ attitudes are changing towards the use of the personal data that they have put online, but not as dramatically as the headlines suggest.

This is according to a study by Syzygy and marketing intelligence firm Attest, which surveyed 1000 respondents. Though the findings do not suggest that British internet users are, overall, about to delete their social media accounts, it tracks some changes in attitudes towards the safety of their information online, in the wake of a personal data story that 93% of the sample were aware of.

Two-thirds (67%) of respondents are either somewhat or extremely worried about the misuse of their personal information online. A further 20% report feeling a “little worried”, according to Campaign.

However, that has not translated to a mass exodus just yet. Currently, just 5% of respondents report having left Facebook, with a further 6% saying they intend to do so.  But over half (54%) have no intention of deleting social platforms, while a fifth have not yet made up their minds whether they will or won’t.

What emerges, however, is not a population at odds with brands using personal data. People seem to be more concerned with breaches, with 40% listing these as a concern, followed by personal safety (15%) and the inability to edit or delete personal information online (11%).  

Value seems to be the bigger risk for brands. In a further study of 2000 UK participants – undertaken by the same companies –21% of consumers reported feeling that their data was at risk. Not nearly as many as the 46% who report receiving little benefit from sharing their information.

Given the choice, consumers would like to receive discounts (35%), cashback (34%), or loyalty points (32%) in return. Less than a fifth of consumers (18%) say they would share data in return for access to a premium service.

Of course, it is important to note the general inconsistencies in data gathered from surveys around attitudes to personal data governance in which the views espoused do not always match up with the reality. What is clear, however, from the 93% awareness of the Cambridge Analytica scandal is that public attention has suddenly been drawn to a topic that few consumers had spent a lot of time thinking about.

Mark Ellis, managing director at Syzygy, noted that Facebook still has “a long way to go to convince consumers that their data is safe online”.

Sourced from Campaign; additional content by WARC staff