Accepting cookies- Who, What and Why?

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This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

Taking a more in-depth look into cookies online- why allow them, why not, and why does it matter?

First of all, what are cookies? According to Cybernews cookies are small files that websites automatically create to authenticate users and accounts, collect analytic data, and personalize online ads – among other things. While they are mostly harmless, it’s still good practice to clear cookies once in a while, as well as a cache that stores them both in terms of privacy and performance.

The vast majority of overall internet users accept cookies, with most saying they even do so blindly and without thought, according to a survey from the website “All About Cookies”. A quarter of users say they accept cookies after some research, while one in five accept only some. Only 18% of users report that they reject all cookies.

While 74% of Americans know how to clear and disable cookies, 24% of people hold the false belief that they will be redirected or kicked off the website if they do not accept. In general, the survey showed that most users have a mixed understanding of what cookies even do, with only one in four knowing their actual use.

Several misconceptions selected by at least one in ten respondents include the beliefs that cookies will sign them up on mailing lists, and that cookies will download files, inject viruses, or read what’s stored on their devices.

The study further reveals a generational divide when it comes to cookies- the most confidently knowledgeable about cookies are millennials at 60%, as opposed to 45% among Gen Z and Gen X. Baby boomers are twice as likely to reject cookies than any other generation, while Gen Z is the most likely to accept them.