Poll: Most U.S. Facebook users worry about their data being sold

Poll: Most U.S. Facebook users worry about their data being sold

April 12 (UPI) — More than half of Facebook users are very concerned about their personal data being sold, according to results of a Gallup poll released Thursday.

Respondents expressed their concerns after it emerged political contractor Cambridge Analytica used a Facebook app to obtain information on possibly 87 million people without their consent.

The poll question about personal information sold to and used by other companies topped a list of seven concerns. Fifty-five percent of U.S. Facebook users said they were “very concerned” about it.

The poll was taken from April 2-8, as Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepared to testify before Congress about efforts to protect users’ data and privacy.

“It’s likely that Facebook users’ concerns about their information being exploited by other companies are heightened after the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, which prompted Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony,” Gallup journalist and analyst Justin McCarthy wrote in a news release about the poll.

According to the poll, 56 percent of Americans said they have a Facebook page. The findings from the survey reveal 43 percent of Facebook users have concerns about possible invasion of privacy, up from 30 percent in an October 2011 poll.

Other concerns included internet viruses, which 36 percent of users said are very concerning, and unsolicited messages or ads appearing on their page, which had a very-concerning rate of 33 percent.

Fifteen percent of Facebook users said they are very concerned about being shamed for things they say or do on the site and 9 percent are very concerned about getting upset or feeling bad about themselves because of things they see others post.

As for spending too much time on the platform, 13 percent are concerned about doing so.

The survey also asked Google users about the same concerns. Fifty-seven of those users said they are very concerned about their personal information being sold and 44 percent are very concerned about Google tracking their location and location history.

One in three Google users are very concerned about invasion of privacy and internet viruses and 36 percent of users are worried about Google sending them targeted ads based on browsing history.

Results for the poll are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,509 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is at 4 percentage points.