Are SurveyMonkey Surveys Anonymous?

Since SurveyMonkey is one of the leading survey platforms around the globe, you’ve probably encountered one of its surveys in your personal or professional life. Naturally, people are more comfortable providing honest responses if they know the survey is safe from prying eyes.

Are SurveyMonkey Surveys Anonymous?

You probably want to know if your response can be traced back to you before laying it all out in a survey. Keep reading to find out if SurveyMonkey surveys are truly anonymous.

Are SurveyMonkey Surveys Anonymous?

Let’s cut to the chase – not all SurveyMonkey surveys are anonymous.

SurveyMonkey as a platform can’t actually influence the anonymity of a survey. Only the creators who set up surveys can choose whether to collect anonymous responses or track their respondents. SurveyMonkey only provides creators with the tools necessary to configure their surveys according to their needs.

Survey creators can collect your personal information in two ways.

  • By explicitly asking for your personal details as part of the survey
  • By using survey collectors to automatically track and collect certain information

The personal details don’t necessarily have to be your first and last name. They can include other information that can help the survey creator understand the demographics of their respondents. However, these questions can also reveal your identity, depending on the number of respondents and the specificity of the answers. These demographic questions typically inquire about the specifics noted below.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Level of education
  • Employment status
  • Marital status
  • Income

Some non-anonymous surveys won’t ask for your information directly, but will collect other data that can be traced back to you. For example, although an IP address doesn’t disclose your identity directly, it can indicate your geographic location. Let’s discuss what identity-revealing details a SurveyMonkey survey can collect.

What Information Does SurveyMonkey Collect?

SurveyMonkey provides several collectors to the survey creators. Collectors are survey-distribution methods that affect the survey-taking experience and determine what respondent information is tracked and recorded. The survey creator can return anonymous responses for any collector except Facebook Messenger.

IP Address

By default, most SurveyMonkey collectors track the respondent’s IP address unless the creator opts not to. The IP tracking is done through the web link you click to fill in the survey.

Email Address

If you’ve received the survey via an email invitation, chances are the creator will be able to see whether or not you’ve completed the survey. When the anonymity filter is turned off, the creator can see exactly which email address has done one of the following.

  • Completed the survey
  • Partially completed the survey
  • Didn’t respond to the questions
  • Opted out from receiving surveys

While the creator can’t see your exact responses, the completion status can sometimes be enough to reveal your identity, especially if there’s a limited number of respondents.

Facebook Display Name

If the survey is sent and recorded through Facebook Messenger, the creator can see the first and last name associated with your Facebook account. Unless you go by a pseudonym or use a dummy account, your survey responses will lead directly to your identity.

Microsoft Teams Display Name

Unless instructed not to by the survey creator, Microsoft Teams will record the first and last name of each survey-taker. As a result, the creator will be able to see your identifying information.

How to Know if a SurveyMonkey Survey Is Anonymous

A SurveyMonkey survey should contain a privacy statement informing you about the anonymity of the survey and how your personally identifiable information will be handled. If there’s a privacy policy attached, SurveyMonkey advises you to read it thoroughly and contact the survey creator if you have any additional questions.

Unfortunately, if no privacy note is displayed, the only way to know if the survey is genuinely anonymous is to ask the creator directly. All creators must abide by SurveyMonkey’s Terms of Use and should disclose whether a survey is anonymous or not. Suppose you suspect a survey creator might be lying about the anonymity of the survey or trying to collect sensitive personal information, such as credit card numbers. In that case, you should immediately shoot off an email to SurveyMonkey and refrain from completing the survey in question.

Installing an extension for blocking email trackers, such as Ugly Email, can help you immediately determine if a survey sent via an email invitation is being tracked.

If you can’t get a definite answer about the anonymity of a survey, avoid filling in questions aimed at narrowing down who you are. Job-related surveys might ask you about your department or boss, so be mindful of what information you willingly put out.

Don’t Monkey Around With Anonymity

Even though a SurveyMonkey survey won’t ask for your first and last name directly, your identifying information can still be revealed through various metadata. Since anonymity can’t be guaranteed when completing a SurveyMonkey survey, it might be best to not divulge any information you wouldn’t want to be associated with yourself.

Have you ever filled in a SurveyMonkey survey? Is it important for you to remain anonymous when completing a survey? Let us know in the comments section below.

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