Despite major breaches, more Americans are fine sharing their personal information with businesses.

Since Facebook’s data sharing scandal with Cambridge Analytica and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation became talking points this year, Americans question how their personal data is shared more than ever. But the more we learn, the less we mind.

Sixty-two percent feel sharing personal data is part of the modern economy, says a joint study from marketing firms Acxiom and Data and Marketing Association.

“An overwhelming shift in attitudes is underway as more and more consumers gain awareness and an understanding of the role data exchange plays in contemporary society,” says Acxiom executive Sheila Colclasure. “People are increasingly aware of the role data plays in our lives and are becoming more conscious of the decisions they make in exchanging data for value.”

How comfortable are we really?

Forty-four percent say they, “feel more comfortable with data exchange than they previously did.” But the study doesn’t specify when previous was. Oh yeah, and it was conducted in November 2017, four months before The New York Times broke the Cambridge Analytica story.

Nonetheless, data exchange can be used to improve life for Americans as long as we trust the companies exchanging our data. Fifty-four percent say trust in an organization is the most important factor influencing them to share personal data.

But Americans don’t trust most industries using their personal data. There is one exception, though the auto industry.

The pros of data exchange

New vehicles with internet technology built in, or “connected cars,” are giving automakers the ability to create new safety features, according to a joint study from automotive data company Otonomo and market research company Edison Research.

Despite all the noise around data breaches, shoppers of these new cars are interested in sharing personal data for updated features, like these…

  • Safety alerts
  • Maintenance warnings
  • Traffic updates
  • Faster response times from emergency responders in case of an accident

“While consumer trust in some industries is trending very low right now, car manufacturers are amongst the most trusted in terms of how they treat customer data,” says Edison Research VP Tom Webster. “This paints a very compelling picture for the future capabilities of the connected car.”

Seventy-one percent of new car buyers and 77 percent of connected car owners trust automakers with their personal data. The top two reasons for that trust are a tie between personal experience and good reputation. That’s compared to social media sites, which less than half trust.

Social media data sharing distrust

Trust in social media sites has plummeted since the Facebook scandal broke. A recent study from marketing firm Sailthru concludes that 55 percent of Americans are “uncomfortable” with social media sites buying and selling their data in wake of the breach.

The interesting thing is, Facebook doesn’t actually “sell” data. The social media site operates its services free of charge with support from ad revenue. What it does is allow brands to personalize ads tailored to specific demographics based on age, gender, location and what they’re into, according to a Motley Fool article published in USA Today.

Cambridge Analytica really hit home for Americans due to just how many it affected. At the beginning of this year, Facebook had 2.19 billion active users or 29 percent of the world’s entire population. Following the breach, many Americans realized they are able to access what data the social media giant holds on them.

Moving forward to a “data-driven future”

Those who have downloaded their data hold themselves more accountable for protecting it. Sixty-five percent of those who did feel responsible for data protection compared to 59 percent who didn’t. They’re also more likely to feel they have a say in how their data is used: 26 percent versus 16 percent. But since the breach, nearly half plans to delete at least one social media account by the end of the year.

Since the GDPR was implemented this May, 60 percent of Americans feel the government should regulate how companies use our data.

To conclude: Americans are onboard to use data in exchange for marketing. We just want companies to act ethically and hold themselves to a set of standards.

“Responsible marketers are interested in acting ethically and nurturing customer trust,” says DMA CEO Tom Benton. “This is all the more reason for the industry to come together and ensure we’re operating in an environment that drives value to customers. With a steady eye toward security and responsibility and customer relationships that are based on trust, our data-driven future will be bright.”

Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of Debt.com.

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Article last modified on September 12, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Do We Know The Risks of Data Sharing? - AMP.