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The 10th annual MEF Global Consumer Trust Report reveals a concerning trend: data abstinence, the declining quantity and quality of shared information. Globally, 67% of users avoid sharing personal data, and only 12% are unconcerned about data control. This behavior is impacting social media platforms, as users become more passive and limit their data sharing, leading to less rich data profiles. The industry faces challenges from both fake accounts and this growing user reluctance.

To counteract this, the industry must proactively address user perceptions and concerns. While data sharing can remain a viable market, it hinges on reinforcing long-term user trust. The entire data supply chain must prioritize and demonstrate care for end-user concerns.

The MEF community is committed to further investigating this issue. While it’s not a cause for alarm, complacency is not an option. The focus is on collaboratively building a new paradigm for a data economy that prioritizes user trust and data control.

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Key Takeaways

  • Stagnant Trust

The Global Trust Index, a measure of user confidence in personal data sharing, remains weak at 55% and has not improved since last year.

  • Awareness of Data Use A Mixed Blessing

While awareness of how personal data is used is high, it may be driven by negative news and data misuse. Increased awareness alone does not improve trust; greater confidence in control and safeguards is also necessary.

  • Positive Perceptions Have Plateaued

Perceptions of ease, convenience, online confidence, and privacy have stagnated or declined, reversing a long-term upward trend.

  • Incremental Decline in Data Harm Is Not Enough

Although there has been a slight decrease in reported data harms, it hasn’t translated to improved trust. Most data harms remain more common than in previous years.

  • Fewer Users Noticing Improvements

The proportion of users who perceive improvements in data education, controls, and security has plateaued or declined.

  • Protective Actions No Longer Increasing

For the first time, there is no continued upward trend in protective actions taken by users. There’s also a lack of certainty that these actions significantly improve safety.