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New survey finds Americans’ trust in Facebook continues to decline

New survey finds Americans’ trust in Facebook continues to decline

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

American users trust other tech companies far more with their data than Facebook, according to a poll conducted by Reuters. The poll surveyed 2,237 adults from the US about their social media use and trust in tech companies over obeying government data privacy policies.

Reuters’ survey found that most people used Facebook throughout the day more than they used Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, or Google+. But although people were more likely to be on Facebook, 51 percent either said they didn’t trust the platform at all or didn’t trust it very much. Although the poll didn’t explicitly ask about the Cambridge Analytica data breach that came to light two weeks ago, the timing of the poll coincides with when the public found out about the breach and the #DeleteFacebook hashtag began circulating on social media.

Reuters’ findings are fairly consistent with The Verge’s own research last fall, when a survey conducted with 1,520 respondents in the US found that roughly 30 percent of consumers either “somewhat” or “greatly” distrust Facebook’s handling of their personal data. (Only about 20 percent say they trust Facebook, while the rest either did not have an opinion, neither trusted nor distrusted, or do not use the service.)

The Verge surveyed users during a time when the focus on Facebook was its battle against fake news on the platform, before the Cambridge Analytica data fiasco hadn’t become public knowledge. In that survey, The Verge found that 57 percent of people who weren’t on Facebook chose not to be on it because they didn’t trust it. Our survey also found that Amazon was still the most popular tech company, followed by Google, then Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple.

According to Reuters, 41 percent of Americans trusted Facebook to some extent to obey laws protecting user data privacy. Amazon had the highest trust score at 66 percent, followed by Google at 62 percent, Microsoft at 60 percent, and Yahoo at 47 percent. (Those numbers are likely due to Yahoo’s data breach that affected all 3 billion of its accounts and Microsoft’s recent Spectre and Meltdown bugs.)