Why Are Many People Choosing to Stay Anonymous?

Posted September 24th, 2019

In recent years, people have become more aware of the dangers associated with sharing mounds of personal information online. Data breaches are certainly nothing new, but used to affect larger organizations more so than the reputations of individuals. Then came a series of Facebook data breaches starting in 2013, followed by Tumblr, Twitter, Google+ and more. In total, more than 545 million records were exposed in Facebook’s breaches alone. Another 65 million were exposed in the Tumblr hack, and the list goes on and on.

At first, many thought the breaches wouldn’t make a dent in the massive numbers of people interacting within these networks. Over time, however people began to take action. One study conducted over the summer of 2018 found that 42% of Facebook users took a break from the site in the past year. It further found that 52% adjusted their privacy settings, and 26% deleted the app from their phone. While still growing, Facebook’s growth has been slowing down across North America and in Europe. In addition to Facebook, Tumblr growth has slowed significantly and Twitter appears to have plateaued several years ago.

On the other side of the coin is Reddit — a social network known for anonymity and “throwaway accounts.” Reddit’s user base has been skyrocketing over the past few years and is projected to continue growing through 2023. Unlike other social networks, many Reddit users attempt to remain anonymous and completely control what they reveal about themselves. Using these anonymous accounts, Reddit users are free to engage in candid discussion across millions of topics.

What Does This Mean for Workplace Feedback?

People have become much more aware of the dangers associated with sharing personal information. The lessons learned from social media can have a direct effect in other areas of life as well. Someone who is less likely to post personal information on Facebook out of fear of it being seen by the wrong pair of eyes may be equally as reluctant to comment on workplace issues out in the open. We’ve learned that data can be breached and anything we say can be used against us at some point. This is especially salient when dealing with contentious or sensitive issues.

So What’s the Solution?

Using an anonymous suggestion box to collect workplace feedback (like Incogneato) can help employees feel more comfortable giving candid, honest feedback. Additionally, using a trusted third party to collect anonymous feedback prevents organizations from mistakenly storing log files or other pieces of data that can inadvertently reveal the identities of respondents. As we’ve covered in another post, there’s lots more research supporting the use of anonymous feedback.

What Makes Incogneato Safe?

Incogneato takes anonymity and security seriously. In addition to using 256-bit SSL encryption for all communication within Incogneato, there is continuous threat monitoring in place, and the latest server software is always in use. Perhaps most significantly, Incogneato does not collect any personal identifying information from those submitting feedback, unless they choose to include an email address (which is encrypted before storing).

If you haven’t already, give Incogneato a try by setting up a free anonymous suggestion box. No credit card is required during your trial.

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