African Internet users manage up to 15 online passwords

January 15, 2014

Africans are using up to 15 online passwords and creating false identities in a bid to maintain their privacy in the virtual world. A new report shows Southern African and West Africans are adopting more varied strategies to keep their information safe online. Of the 3,900 respondents, 56 per cent of West Africans said they were managing between ten and 15 online passwords, with 57 per cent of East and Southern Africans saying it was becoming difficult to manage multiple passwords especially for social media accounts. The report highlight common online identities namely transactional, social networking sites and professional sites. Social media profiles are the most edited and carefully constructed identities according to the report said while professional accounts were less inhibited. The stats showed despite a high number of passwords, users were re using them and even creating similar log-in which increases their vulnerability.

According to the study, online behavior seems to dramatically change depending on the websites visited and for what purpose. Online platforms users in Africa are also developing quite a different identity than they would in their professional realm like use of computer enhancing software to brighten their colors. It was noted that most of them see themselves as doing quite distinct things and operating in very different ways in the amount of information they disclose. More than half of the respondents also said they had also deliberately provided inaccurate information about themselves on Facebook to protect their online identity from government agencies and their parents, friends and relatives. The digital natives users mostly aged under 23 years are the likeliest in whole of sub Saharan Africa to create pseudonyms, with more than 70 per cent saying they had used fake identities.

Contador Harrison