Eighty-seven million. That’s the number of people whose personally identifiable information was collected non-consensually by the political consulting and strategic communication firm Cambridge Analytica. A combination of factors contributed to this historic data breach, like poor safeguards in place to protect against data harvesting to poor oversight of Facebook developers. But the end result is clear. Americans don’t trust Facebook with their data.
Insider Intelligence recently released its annual U.S. Digital Trust Survey, which revealed that only 53% of participants at least somewhat agree that Facebook protects their data and privacy, compared to 73% on LinkedIn and 58% on Pinterest.
The survey polled 1,865 people in the U.S. aged 18 to 74 from May 28 to June 3, asking them how they felt about the way nine major social media networks handle their information. Aside from Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest, Insider Intelligence looked at Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok in the following trust-related categories: ad experience, ad relevance, community, legitimacy and security.
The responses were recorded on a scale of “strongly agree,” “agree,” “somewhat agree,” “neutral,” “somewhat disagree,” “disagree,” and “strongly disagree.” 32% of Facebook users surveyed at least somewhat disagree that they have confidence in the platform, compared to 10% for LinkedIn and Pinterest.
“Two years after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, we expect that Facebook’s massive data privacy issues during that time have persisted in public memory and continue to be a black mark on its record,” said Insider Intelligence senior research analyst Audrey Schomer in a statement. “This is likely driving nearly one-third of U.S. Facebook users to continue to view Facebook as a platform that doesn’t adequately protect their data. Our research highlights the great importance of data privacy protections by social networks to ensure that user engagement data isn’t mishandled or misappropriated.”
While Facebook is attempting to give users more control over what data of theirs is shared and what ads they’re shown through opt-in and opt-out features, reputations are hard to scrub clean when they’ve been tarnished. And with the various other scandals associated with the platform, from group recommendation algorithms that have radicalized people, to Russia using Facebook to manipulate the 2016 presidential election, it’s no surprise that user sentiment is low.
Twitter and TikTok trail just behind Facebook, with nearly a quarter of respondents saying they lacked confidence in either platform to protect their personal information.
Insider Intelligence said, “Digital trust is important for brands and advertisers to consider because U.S. social users say it impacts whether they will interact with the ads they see on social platforms. Even if security scandals don’t drive users to cease engagement, our data indicates that the trust users have—or don’t have—in social platforms could impact their interactions with ads or sponsored content. In fact, 79% of respondents said whether a platform protects their privacy and data was either extremely or very impactful when it comes to their decision to engage with ads. And 30% of respondents said that whether a platform shows them relevant ads had an extremely or very high impact.”