Are people digitally aware enough to make informed decisions? What is the state of the relationship between end users and industry?
The World Economic Forum explored these questions by conducting an extensive survey on more than 6,000 online users across a range of age groups in Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, South Africa, and the United States. The research provides insights on public understanding of the concepts behind personal data and areas of digital media use that cause strains in trust between end users and industry.
Results from the survey report that many users lack understanding of fundamental concepts surrounding personal data, even after reading definitions of related terms. Additionally, data points to the fact that some end users have avoided or stopped using a service or platform altogether because they felt it did not provide enough control over their personal data. While recognizing the natural limitations of self-reported perspectives from surveys, we believe there is essential value in this kind of research for gauging end-user digital media literacy levels and in understanding points of view on important topics.
An informed society is one that makes more considered decisions about economic, social and political life. By taking a more proactive role in achieving an informed society – so that citizens have a deeper understanding of the implications of their digital media engagement – both industry and government will improve levels of trust in institutions and businesses. The World Economic Forum believes that a collaborative, public-private approach is the most effective way to achieve this.
The Digital Media and Society report is a main output of The World Economic Forum’s The Shaping the Future implications of Digital Media for Society project.