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89% of Brits let up to 4 people know their social media passwords

20th April 2017 Print

Reading the terms and conditions before signing up to a new social media app is often perceived as a laborious task. But do Brits know what they are agreeing to when they fail to read the small print?, the UK's largest independent tech retailer, surveyed the nation to uncover how safety savvy Brits are when sharing information on social media. Only 48% admitted to reading the terms and conditions when signing up to social media, meaning that 52% of those who sign up to apps don’t know what they are agreeing to and how those platforms can use their personal content. 

A shocking 44% of Brits admitted they didn’t realise social media platforms have the right to distribute and share the things they post, potentially for advertising purposes. 

When it comes to making certain areas of their profiles private, 1 in 10 Brits admitted that they have no privacy settings on their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, snapchat). With the most secure platform being Facebook (78%) and the least secure being Snapchat (12%).

It seems Brits are in fact quite relaxed when it comes to their social media privacy, as 89% admitted they let up to 4 people know their social media account passwords and 1 in 10 (10%) Brits let up to 10 people know their passwords. People aged 65+ were the most safety savvy with only 1% letting between 5-10 people know their password.

Looking at what Brits are sharing and why, 16% of those surveyed said that if something they deemed to be important happened in their life, they would post about it on social media first as opposed to discussing it with a friend directly. spoke to Dr. Hatana El-Jerd, a lecturer in Digital and Social Media at Leeds Trinity University, about why Brits feel so comfortable sharing so much information about their personal lives in the public domain. “There isn’t a simple answer or a one size fits all perspective for users over sharing information. Culture, environment, personality and our motivations all play a role. 

“Offline relationships differ significantly from our online relationships. In the real world, people might disclose intimate information to someone they perceive as a close friend, while keeping to general formalities with a colleague from work, essentially categorising friends on perceived intimacy. However, with social media platforms such as Facebook – anyone we add is categorised as a ‘friend’ and is privied to all of the personal and intimate information posted. Perceiving this social media space with ‘friends’ as ‘safe’ is what ultimately impacts how much information people are willing to disclose and sometimes typing a status is easier than having a face to face interaction.”

Over a third of Brits admitted they have their name, age, where they work, live, pictures, friends and their relationship status freely accessible on social media. Shockingly, 11% of all people did not think strangers could find out any information at all, including their name, about them on social media. 

Dr. Hatana El-Jerd, said: “Many users are oblivious to how many people can access information they post. When a user’s network is not private, people they do not know are able to see what they are doing, for example, what public posts they've liked, events they have attended and places they have checked into. Users need to be aware that people such as future employers could potentially have access to this information and should therefore pay more attention to privacy settings.”

Annalise Short, Marketing Manager at said, “Social media has become an important part of our daily life. Each platform serves an array of different uses and is used in every country across the world. 

“However it is important for individuals to read the terms and conditions and realise what they are agreeing to when they sign up for each app. Taking the time to read over the fine print and making sure you are comfortable with how the platforms can use your content is key, especially when it involves personal information.” 

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