When information is everywhere, it can be hard for people to discern signal from noise. To learn more, McKinsey—in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and comScore—conducted a survey that sheds light on how people understand the concepts behind personal data and digital media that strain trust between end users and industry. Respondents included more than 6,000 online users from a range of age groups in Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, South Africa, and the United States. A new report, “Shaping the future implications of digital media for society: Valuing personal data and rebuilding trust,” highlights our findings.
The survey shows, for example, that many users lack understanding of issues around personal data, even when they’ve read definitions of related terms. And some users report avoiding services or platforms entirely when they feel insufficient control over their data. Although there are limitations to self-reported perspectives from surveys, this research helps gauge digital media literacy levels and develop perspectives on pressing issues. Citizens that understand the implications of their digital media engagement can make more considered decisions about their economic, social, and political lives. By taking steps to promote an informed society, industry, government and civil society could work together to improve trust in institutions and businesses.
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