In recent years, internet users are increasingly concerned about their online privacy. Ad blocker and VPN services have flourished, as users religiously check remove their cookies and check their spyware detectors. However, there exists a “privacy paradox.” Although people seem to be concerned about their privacy, their actions don’t necessarily reflect their worries.
A recent meta-analysis of 166 studies, including 75,269 participants, explored this paradox. Those who are concerned about their privacy are more inclined to regularly delete cookies, use strong passwords and generally take precautions when browsing.
However, when it comes to social media, these same users disregard these worries, even when they know that their data could be against them. Many of these users behave carelessly online, allowing much of their data to be made public. Privacy concerns appear to go out the window with social media, partly due to the fact that social media appeals to a basic human need: social interaction.
“Because people’s concerns about privacy don’t seem to translate into behaviors to protect privacy, it is quite easy to envision a future in which everything we do online becomes part of our public reputation.”
Read more on Harvard Business Review.