More people trust (and distrust) Facebook than any other social site — [survey]

October 16, 2019

Facebook is both the most and least trusted social media platform in North America. That’s according to a new study from location data provider Freckle, which recently surveyed 1,200 adults on questions of media, privacy and trust.

Freckle’s survey is one of several privacy related studies being released over the next few weeks as we approach 2020 and CCPA.

The ‘fake news’ problem. Overall, the survey found that 86% of respondents believe there’s a persistent “fake news” problem in the market. And 81% believe the problem is tied to the 2016 election and remains unresolved. It’s not clear from the survey, however, what the ideological leanings of respondents are.

What have you done to address social media data privacy concerns?

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Source: Freckle consumer survey (2019)

Two-thirds concerned about privacy, half have adjusted settings. The survey examined trust and social media sites in particular. It found that 66% of people said data-privacy concerns impacted their trust of social media. Only 13% of respondents said “don’t care,” while 17% said that the impact of data privacy issues on their social media attitudes was “low.”

When asked “What have you done to address data privacy concerns?,” 50% of survey respondents said they had updated social media privacy settings. That response was most pronounced among Millennial males. A separate survey from Pew Research found 54% of Americans have adjusted their Facebook privacy settings in the past 12 months.

As mentioned, Facebook had the dubious honor of being chosen as the most and least trusted social media site in the survey. Here are the findings for both categories:

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Source: Freckle consumer survey (2019)

Presumably, “other” on this list includes Instagram. However, it’s not clear why Instagram was not referenced directly in the Freckle study. It would have been interesting to compare consumer trust in Facebook with attitudes toward Facebook-owned Instagram.

It’s also not clear that respondents are in fact users of all these sites.

Why we should care. According to Pew, roughly three-fourths of Facebook users in the U.S. visit the site daily. However, as the Freckle study shows, that is happening against the backdrop of greater caution and skepticism; 12% of respondents said they had “closed” their social media accounts (read: Facebook).

While Facebook’s ad revenues continue to grow there are indications that the erosion of trust and engagement with Facebook is benefitting sister site Instagram. Some agencies and ad platforms have reported advertiser budget growth has flattened on Facebook and recently accelerated on Instagram.


About The Author

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Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He previously held leadership roles at LSA, The Kelsey Group and TechTV. Follow him Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.

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