Poll: As Video Call App Usage Rises, So Does Anxiety About Privacy

By Mozilla | May 7, 2020 | Advocacy

New research from Mozilla and Ipsos reveals that Americans using video call apps are concerned about their personal data, the privacy of their conversations, and online harassment from strangers


Amid the pandemic, more people than ever before are flocking to video call apps like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime. But do consumers trust these apps to adequately protect their privacy and security?

Today, fresh research from Mozilla and Ipsos provides insight into the volume of Americans now using video chat apps, which apps are most popular, and what is most concerning to consumers regarding privacy and security.

The poll comes on the heels of Mozilla’s latest edition of *Privacy Not Included, which ranks the privacy and security features and flaws of 15 popular video call apps.

Says Ashley Boyd, Mozilla’s VP of Advocacy and Engagement: “Video call apps have the potential to connect us when we need it most. But there’s an influx of new users, and they may not be familiar with apps’ optional privacy and security features. For this reason, we urge companies to make privacy and security features the default option.”

Boyd continues: “We also learned that a majority of Americans are concerned that video call apps may violate their privacy. This speaks to the need for more transparency by companies about how their products collect and share information about users, and more default features that limit or stop this data collection altogether. Since our poll shows people will continue using these apps even after the pandemic, it’s crucial for consumers to raise objections now and switch products if they don’t meet expectations. Together we can hold companies accountable for prioritizing privacy and security.”

Chief findings from the poll include:

More than half of Americans are now using video call apps — and many are newcomers.
  • Fifty-seven percent of Americans report currently using video chat platforms for work or social reasons. Thirty-eight percent say they had never used a video chat platform prior to the beginning of coronavirus-related lockdowns
  • A vast majority of those who are currently using the platforms (85%) believe they will continue using them once coronavirus lockdowns are lifted
  • Young adults are especially likely to report using video chat platforms (74% of those ages 18-34, compared to 61% of those ages 35-54 and 39% of those older than 55 years old)
  • Americans who are employed full-time are more likely to be currently using these platforms (66%), while retired Americans (36%) are least likely
A majority of Americans are anxious about privacy violations on video call apps.
  • Most Americans (61%) are concerned about their personal information being shared with companies, including 56% of people using video chat platforms and 68% who are not
  • A majority of Americans (57%) are also concerned about the privacy of their conversations, including 54% of current users and 63% of non-users
  • Other privacy-related concerns abound, including 54% who are concerned about the privacy of their home, and 40% about online harassment
Certain apps and uses are more popular than others.
  • The most popular apps are Zoom (66%) and FaceTime (48%), followed by Facebook Messenger (31%), Skype (27%), and Google Hangouts / Meet / Duo (22%)
  • Video chat platforms are largely used to see friends and/or family members (73%). Forty-six and 32% use them for work- or education-related reasons, respectively
  • After lockdown measures are lifted, anticipated reasons for using video chat platforms remain largely for social reasons: 75% say they will continue to use them to see friends and/or family


Methodology: Polling was conducted April 23-24, and entailed a sample of 1,002 adults ages 18+ from 50 states. Participants were interviewed online in English. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, this poll has a credibility interval of +/- 3.5 percentage points for all respondents and +/- 4.9 percentage points for those who are currently using video chat platforms.Read Ipsos’ press release.