Anonymity, the default policy of many of the world’s wealthiest individuals and families, might be doing them more harm than good, according to research, which also says too much privacy can undermine their credibility.
London-based communications group Transmission Private found more than 40% of the public would feel more negative about a member of the wealthy elite if they could not find information about them online.
The results come at a time when new wealth taxes are under discussion in many western countries and anti-wealth sentiment is on the rise. These trends are likely to encourage wealthy people to try to limit their digital visibility as a strategy to avoid exposure and attention, said Transmission Private.
But many wealthy people are keen to avoid having content appear against a search of their names online and, in some cases, members of the business elite have taken steps to actively remove information about themselves online.
But this might be counterproductive, said Transmission Private.
“If wealthy people want to limit their online profiles, they are setting themselves up for failure, especially at a time like this when business partners, members of the public and politicians are scrutinising multi-millionaires and billionaires,” said Jordan Greenaway, managing partner at Transmission Private.
“But clearly this research does not mean that wealthy individuals should suddenly get Twitter and Instagram accounts, this is not the type of information that people are expecting to find about individuals online, according to our findings,” said Luke Thompson, head of private client services at Transmission Private.
“Instead, it indicates that people expect to know more about the people behind our biggest and most successful companies – who they are, how they became successful, and perhaps what they stand for in the world.”
The research is based on a poll of 2,000 people in the UK, conducted by Transmission Private in association with OnePoll.