A lack of trust towards big corporations such as Facebook and Google has grown massively in Sweden over the past five years, according to a recent study carried out by The Swedes and the Internet Foundation.
Around 50 percent of Swedes state that they feel concern that these companies are jeopardising personal privacy online. This is an increase of 17 percent since 2015.
Increased concern about Google and Facebook
In the study, 50 percent of participants were concerned that large companies such as Google and Facebook could infringe on their personal privacy on the Internet. Only a fifth of them were concerned about possible intrusions by the Swedish authorities. Concerns have increased in both of these areas from a five-year perspective.
“Swedish internet use has matured, and people are reflecting more on what they do online and what the consequences are. The growth boom is over. Now it's more about consolidation”, says Måns Jonasson, digital strategist at the Internet Foundation.
A Breach of Trust
Among the reasons for the increase in concern is the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has made people more aware of how their personal data can be misused by large companies.
Per Ljungberg, CEO of the interest organisation Svensk Digital Handel is, however, not worried that Swedes' failing confidence risks a negative effect on e-commerce.
“If the consumer doesn't like the platform, they will move. For e-commerce, there are constantly several channels to use to easily reach out. If people are losing confidence in Facebook or Google, people will move elsewhere, but I don't see that happening now. There is no indication of that in the near future", Ljungberg says.
Jonasson points out that the declining interest in Facebook is marginal, although it appears that the trend is breaking for the first time.
“We may have gone past Facebook's heyday, and maybe last year's usage was as high as it will be in Sweden. As yet, no alternative has been crystallised. Maybe smaller social networks are showing up that are more niche, maybe it will be a return to how the Web was in the 1990s. We'll see what the effect will be", Jonasson stated.
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