6th Dec 2023

Europeans among least trusting Facebook users, study says

Western Europeans are among the world's most suspicious users of social networking websites but Asians are the most duplicitous, a new study has found.

Focusing on the biggest player in the field, Facebook, which is used by just over half of all internet surfers, the survey by Belgian firm InSites Consulting noted that 47 percent of people in southern Europe and 44 percent in western Europe have "little trust" that Facebook will not pass on their private data to third parties.

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  • Thirteen percent of people worldwide have "far-from-real" internet profiles (Photo: Lee Jordan)

Eastern Europeans, on a mistrust level of 23 percent, are much less cynical, on a par with people in North America (26%). But Facebook users in Asia (11%), the fastest-growing social networking region, are by far the most guileless.

As a result, western Europeans are much more likely to reveal personal details in real life (79%) than people in Asia (27%), who feel happier to spill the beans online.

The pattern is repeated when it comes to commercial brands posting material about themselves, with just 37 percent of western Europeans saying the postings are "credible" compared to 50 percent in Asia.

But it is reversed when it comes to personal integrity.

Just 27 percent of Asians and around 40 percent of eastern Europeans said they "always tell the truth" when posting information about themselves, compared to around 60 percent of western Europeans and North Americans.

Meanwhile, 13 percent of users worldwide have a "far-from-real" online persona. The levels of internet posturing are the highest on the Netlog, Hi5, Twitter and MySpace websites. Professional networking site LinkedIn has the lowest level of out-and-out liars on 5 percent.

The survey profiled users in Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Germany, Romania, the US, Brazil, Australia, Russia and China.

It also found that the typical social networking "addict," who logs in on average 123 times a month, is a single, childless 18-to-44-year-old woman who accesses the internet through her mobile phone.

Facebook users in western Europe, southern Europe and North America are the most likely to meet their online friends in real life. But their counterparts in eastern Europe and Asia are 20 percent less likely to cross the virtual divide.

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