Japanese people don’t trust others on social media, survey finds

By Katy Kelly, SoraNews24

In our increasingly globalized world, social media is king. The Japanese word for social media is SNS (Social Networking Services), and with smartphones being more ubiquitous than ever before, the SNS boom isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Recently the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs of Communications conducted a survey to investigate how people use SNS and the reasons why. Participants in four countries (Japan, UK, U.S. and Germany) were asked which statements applied to SNS services they used, like this one: “I feel comfortable using SNS to post my own thoughts and information about myself”

The majority of Japanese participants (17 percent) placed this sentiment with LINE, which comes as surprise considering that LINE is most often used between people who already know each other — families and friends. Second was Twitter (7.7 percent), a steep drop of almost ten percent, followed by Facebook (5.3 percent) and Instagram (3.9 percent).

▼ LINE lets users chat in text form, call each other with voice and video, and even send cute stickers.

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 12.54.21.png

Why is the insular chat program LINE so well-used in comparison to Twitter and Facebook? It’s likely because Japanese users feel comfortable posting information on LINE because the other users in their community are people they already know from real life.

This is also probably why less than 20 percent of Japanese participants agreed that they “made new friends through SNS,” “found people to talk with there,” or “made new connections.” By contrast, all three of the other surveyed countries’ participants surpassed 30 percent.

So what do Japanese users typically use SNS for? The most popular uses for social media services in Japan according to responses were things like “getting news and information about current events,” “gathering information,” and even just “killing time.” With excess of 30 percent of surveyed users agreeing with these statements, Japan largely views social media as a means to passively read information rather than a place to hang out or meet people.

But why are most Japanese netizens so disinterested in using online social hubs to socialize? The survey results seem to infer that it’s due to a lack of interpersonal trust, especially when compared to other countries.

Here’s a summary of how much other countries agreed with the following statements:

“I can trust people I meet online”

UK: 68.3 percent

U.S.: 64.4 percent

Germany: 46.9 percent

Japan: 12.9 percent

“I can confidently discern between reliable and unreliable people that I meet online”

UK: 71.6 percent

U.S.: 66.7 percent

Germany: 57.1 percent

Japan: 20.6 percent

When asked about offline relationships too, only 33.7 percent of Japanese participants agreed they “can trust most people,” while other countries exceeded 60 percent. The other three countries also had more faith in their ability to discern between trustworthy people offline: over 70 percent were confident, while only 36.6 percent of Japanese participants were.

Reasons for not trusting Internet peers are widespread and cover a whole host of age ranges. Users cited issues such as accounts begging for online donations, the threat of having private information leaked, and the social agony of connecting with people online who you would rather ignore.

Besides, while sites like YouTube and Instagram can peddle the idea of becoming a celebrity through relatable updates, it’s unlikely to be worth the risks for users who prefer privacy.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that while this survey picks up trends, there will always be exceptions. Many users poured onto Twitter to assert their own faith in the friendships they’d made online, while others said that just because they didn’t trust social media with personal information, that didn’t mean they disliked their followers or didn’t enjoy talking with them.

Sources: White Paper from Ministry of Internal Affairs of Communications, Career Connections, RikuNavi NEXT Journal, Matome Naver

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Twitter, Facebook, Line: The people of Japan vote on their favourite social networking services

-- Japanese employees show almost unanimous support for in-office romances in survey

-- 31 percent of Japanese women admit to cheating on lover, six percent say they got caught【Survey】

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Why would anyone think they can trust people they meet online?

The phrase, "meet online" is itself an oxymoron.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese people don't trust others on social media? Japanese people don't trust others period. I've never been to a country with such a bunker mentality, and it's a crying shame becasuse I trust most Japanese people I meet and can't remember ever being let down.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japanese people don't trust others period. I've never been to a country with such a bunker mentality, and it's a crying shame becasuse I trust most Japanese people I meet and can't remember ever being let down.

Some interesting points here:

The lack of "general trust" in Japan is depressing, particularly when one considers how many people vote for the LDP in every election. Perhaps Mr. Yamagishi's theory of trust is correct.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

cucasshopboy - I agree.

I trust people in my daily life-circles and believe(?) they trust me. I can only really recall one serious breach of trust in decades.

The more pertinent point in this article - the fact that according to the survey, so few Japanese people trust each other in the real world.

Of course the pace is set by a perceived or actual dishonesty displayed by leaders in society - from politics to work bosses to school team seniors.......

Openess will always create better understanding and trust - not perfect but better than.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It could be because of the Japanese mentality of minding their own business and privacy. Maybe Japanese consider it rude to "pry" into others' business.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Vince Black - then you're losing out.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They avoid the trauma of being 'unfriended', which seem to cause people in the UK and USA to go off the rails.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Possibly the whole "honne" and "tatemae" thing leads to distrust, you're kind of brought up in that kind of environment and have to second-guess everything people say as if they really mean it or not.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Its true, we don't trust Zuckerberg, Google and other platforms, used to stalk people and create distortion, it's bolshevic communism

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Good for you Japan! You should never trust anyone on social media except your very close friends and family.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"Japanese consider it rude to "pry" into others' business" - not really when online! As stated from the servey they are passive users - mostly reading and if you want "prying" on others while not sharing anything personal!

Twitter is popular among Japanese because it keeps them relatively anonymous. Most of them don't share anything on Facebook or do strictly for business or work related topics.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Given the broad statement (“I can trust people I meet online”), reckon J ppl got it right.

Besides, "trust' can be interpreted in so many different ways (is it fully trust, trust him/her with my life, trust as in "yeah, reckon he's who he says he's" etc).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have a few Japanese friends on Facebook - and I've met two of them personally (I don't count my girlfriend as while she lives in Japan she isn't Japanese). By and large they share all kinds of things - hobbies, everyday life - basically the same stuff we all share.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Edit: met THREE of them

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So, they are smarter than people in another countries.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Obviously, Japanese people know full well that this world is full of liars, a learned real life experience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Depends what we mean by 'trust'. Trust someone I have a discussion with online about trust? Why not?

Trust someone I meet online because we've fallen in love before we've even met in the flesh and we're going to get married as soon as that money is received in their bank account? Er - I think not...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think's it a good thing that people are cautious about social media like Facebook and Twitter. It's amazing how sheepish the followers of Zuckerberg etc. absorb that medium. Millennials are the most manipulable generation of all times and many still believe that they are 'in charge'.

Better sipping a Hibiki in a nice waterhole in Japan with most guests speaking no or limited English than gazing at a screen full of 'friends' sending each other all kind of nonsense :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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