Coronavirus prompts increased use of video chat platforms for work, connection

Yet many express concerns about confidentiality, including having personal information and private conversation shared with others

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Emily Chen Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, May 7, 2020 – Most Americans are using video chat platforms in light of coronavirus-related lockdowns, including nearly four in ten who are using them for the first time, according to a new Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of the Mozilla Foundation. However, some concerns over data privacy and information sharing have emerged as a result of increased usage.

Detailed findings: 

1. Six in ten (57%) 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.

  • As many schools and companies shift to online classes and remote work, 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 vast majority of those who are currently using the platforms (85%) believe they will continue using them once coronavirus lockdowns are lifted.

2. With high usage of video chat platforms, concerns over privacy have emerged. However, privacy concerns are higher among people not currently using these platforms.

  • Overall, 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 – both video chat users and non-users alike – 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 52% about having video of their conversations recorded and made public. Nearly half of current video chat platform users express concern about these items (48% and 46%, respectively).

3. The most popular platforms among those who are currently using them for social or work reasons are Zoom (66%) and FaceTime (48%).

  • Video chat platforms are largely used to see friends and/or family members (73%). Forty-six and thirty-two percent 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. 

Mozilla's press release can be found here:

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 23-24, 2020, on behalf of Mozilla. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The poll also has a sample of 521 adults who currently use video chat platforms for work or social reasons. 
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.   
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,002, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points). 
The credibility interval is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points for those who currently use video chat platforms for work or social reasons. 
 For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mallory Newall
Director, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

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The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Emily Chen Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs