Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

We would screw over our friends for a free slice of pizza, study says

take pizza over friends privacy study.jpg

We’d do anything for our friends, we say, and usually, we mean it.

But involve a beloved foodstuff – say, pizza – and apparently we’re not quite as fiercely loyal.

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University recruited 3,108 MIT students with Bitcoin accounts to look into digital currency.

The data was then used to investigate consumer behaviour around safeguarding their privacy online. And one particular experiment revealed that most people – 98%, in fact – would hand over the email addresses of three of their friends in exchange for a mere slice of pizza.

Ouch.

The authors write: “Whereas people say they care about privacy, they are willing to relinquish private data quite easily when incentivised to do so.” The incentive, in this case, being a delicious slice of Italian goodness.

pizza over friends

Well, it is pretty great

Interestingly, half of the sample were offered the pizza and half weren’t, and the percentage of those willing to give up their friends’ details dropped without pizza on offer, but perhaps not as much as you might expect – 94% handed over the addresses with no food bribe in sight.

It could indicate we just give up pretty easily, as there was no option to not provide an email address at all. The remaining 6% in the non-pizza group gave fake details.

The paper, published by National Bureau of Economic Research, had an important point to make about how we protect ourselves online – that while we state we are concerned about security, our actions say otherwise, and we often freely give up our privacy for convenience or reward.


Read more: There’s a pizza and prosecco festival touring the country


The authors cited three findings from the data: “First, the effect small incentives have on disclosure may explain the privacy paradox: whereas people say they care about privacy, they are willing to relinquish private data quite easily when incentivized to do so.

“Second, small navigation costs have a tangible effect on how privacy-protective consumers’ choices are, often in sharp contrast with individual stated preferences about privacy.

“Third, the introduction of irrelevant, but reassuring information about privacy protection makes consumers less likely to avoid surveillance, regardless of their stated preferences towards privacy.”

All of which means we say we’re bothered about staying secure online, but if it promises freebies, takes too long or looks kind of like it’s probably maybe OK, we’ll throw caution to the wind.

While loads of us are still using easily hackable passwords such as ‘123456’, ‘qwerty’ and, yes, ‘password’, what did we expect? Time to up our game…

Image: iStock / Rex Features

Related

pizza.jpg

There's a pizza and prosecco festival touring the country - YAY!

cheat.jpg

Little ways we're cheating on our partners, according to Reddit

gallery-1498736155-lotta-chocca-from-dominos.jpg

Praise be, Domino's has made a chocolate pizza

Latest...

A vanilla ice cream shortage is currently sweeping the UK

But it’s still 99-with-a-flake season!

by Moya Crockett
15 Aug 2017

This mobile artisanal gin bar brings the party straight to your door

Roll up, roll up

by Moya Crockett
14 Aug 2017

The gin bauble game just got updated for Christmas 2017

We look forward to trees entirely decorated in things we can eat and drink

by Amy Swales
10 Aug 2017

The untranslatable foreign words all foodies need in their vocabulary

Put down your grief bacon and read this

by Amy Swales
09 Aug 2017

This gin is one of the best in the world – and costs under £10

It keeps topping the polls in industry taste tests, but leaves you change from a tenner

by Amy Swales
27 Jul 2017

These are the UK's best bars for indulging your love of gin

G&T, anyone...?

by Jenny Tregoning
27 Jul 2017

Pink gin has arrived to make our summer 100% better

Our go-to tipple, infused with strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants

by Anna Brech
27 Jul 2017

An espresso martini festival is coming to the UK this summer

All aboard for an homage to the suave and punchy concoction

by Anna Brech
26 Jul 2017

How a 'coffee nap' can supercharge your work day

Brew up the caffeine and then hit snooze

by Anna Brech
26 Jul 2017

The world’s best cocktail bar is officially in London

Boasting botany-inspired cocktails, dreamy interiors and stunning views

by Moya Crockett
25 Jul 2017