Generation Z internet users are the most likely to want to delete content posted in 2021 (84%), compared to only 70% of over 35s.
Kaspersky publishes the conclusions of a study that looks at the level of awareness of Internet users and their behavior regarding the confidentiality of their data and their digital footprint. The survey looks at differences in perception across countries and across generations, with Gen Z individuals (those born in 1997 and 2010) being the most radical when it comes to data control since many of them would like to permanently delete some of their posts.
The survey, in which more than 8,500 Internet users over the age of 16 from 11 countries were questioned, including 1,070 in France, highlighted the false beliefs circulating about the control of digital identity. For example, many people mistakenly believe that social media accounts and posts can be permanently deleted.
The posts we like on social media can profoundly influence how others perceive us. Users across Europe are aware that their online activities can have consequences. They indicated that some topics were more risky and sensitive than others and could affect their image and even their job prospects.
For 38% of European citizens compared to 46% for the French, derogatory messages about people with disabilities appear to be the most harmful for their interpersonal relationships and their job prospects. In addition, almost one in three respondents (34%) – compared to 28% in France – said that sharing anti-vax messages could harm their career. If 32% of European users think that anti-trans language could also affect their career, French respondents are particularly in agreement, since they are even 40% to think so.
More than half of French executives (57%, which is well above the European average of 48%) admitted to having researched the online presence of one of their employees when they joined the company and having found content there that they judged to be negative. In addition, 39% of French people surveyed said they knew someone whose job or career had been impacted because of an old message posted on social networks. Despite this, 42% of French people and 32% of Europeans have never modified or deleted one of their old posts.
Many people have a problem with how their online presence shapes their image. In total, 42% of users (38% in France) believe that their profile on social networks does not represent them authentically. In addition, 48% at European level against 42% in France, think that their search history could give a false idea of who they really are.
Worryingly, 16-21 year olds overwhelmingly believe (81%) that they can permanently delete all traces of their online activity. In France, this figure is a little lower, but 73% of 16-21 year olds believe they have full control of their online presence.
Millions of people die leaving behind their social media profiles and internet search history. Understandably, most don’t have time to examine their digital footprint before leaving for good. This survey highlighted a lack of information in this regard, since almost a third (30%) of European citizens compared to 33% in France have not thought about what will happen to their digital footprint after their death, and that almost a fifth (19%) compared to 21% in France wrongly think that all their accounts on social networks will be automatically permanently deleted.
According to the survey, 37% of respondents (40% in France) would have no problem accessing the profile of a deceased parent on social networks if the latter left their identifiers in their will. However, we find that the same respondents are not as comfortable when it comes to doing it themselves. Thus, the same proportion of respondents (37%) are not ready to leave their identifiers in their will. In France, only 30% of respondents feel uncomfortable with this idea, while 46% are completely in favor of leaving their social network identifiers in their will.