The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Influence of Scandal and Experience on Users’ Attitudes to Social Media Data Control
Social media has become an entrenched function of today’s Internet. Has widespread news of abuse — e.g., the Cambridge Analytica scandal — changed people’s perceptions of how corporations and public institutions can use personal data? We compare two datasets, one collected through an October 2013 study and the other collected via an augmented version of the same study performed in May 2018. Overall, participants in 2018 are more willing to cede control of their personal data to others (including public institutions) than they were in 2013. Participants with greater awareness of the Cambridge Analytica scandal’s details show an increased desire for data mobility, more skepticism about targeted advertising and news, and an increased willingness for social media sites to demand corrections to inaccurate content. This work was done in collaboration with Frank Shipman, Center for the Study of Digital Libraries at Texas A&M University.
Cathy Marshall is an adjunct professor at the Center for the Study of Digital Libraries at Texas A&M University. She was previously a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, Silicon Valley.