Public Trust In Facebook Is Plunging, Polls Show

The first round of public opinion polls following the recent backlash over Facebook's ruthless monetization of user data has just been released. And it should give Facebook executives more reason to worry - though we doubt another round of full-page newspaper advertisements will do much to help.

Indeed, an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll comparing views in October with last week found that Facebook's already low net favorability dropped twice as much as the other tech giants.

Facebook

Meanwhile, less than half of Americans said they trust social media giant Facebook to follow US privacy laws amid the platform's recent scandal involving data firm Cambridge Analytica, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

41% of Americans polled said they had trust in Facebook to obey privacy laws, which apply to their personal information, while 51% of those polled expressed levels of mistrust in the platform.

What's worse (for Facebook and its shareholders), is that a majority of those surveyed by Axios and SurveyMonkey appeared to express more confidence in other tech companies regarding the handling of personal information online. The poll found that 66% trusted Amazon to follow privacy information, while 62% said they trusted Google.

Facebook's raw favorability rating was 48% last week, down from 61% in October. Google's latest raw favorability was 78%, Amazon's was 75%, Apple' s was 61% and Twitter's was 31%. SurveyMonkey points out: "In October, Facebook had more positive than negative ratings by about 2-1; now it’s ... 48% favorable, 43% unfavorable."

The negative turn for Facebook is particularly large among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, with favorable ratings falling 16 percentage points, from 67% to 51%. SurveyMonkey found more modest declines among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters (10 points) and pure independents (eight points).

But Axios notes that while these declines are troubling, the fact remains that Facebook is a free service - therefore, talk of leaving it for another social-media network is likely overblown.

Facebook is facing investigations and inquiries launched by lawmakers and regulators in both the US and the UK. The outrage, which has been percolating for years, roared to life following revelations that Cambridge Analytica improperly used personal data from 50 million Facebook users during its work for the Trump campaign. Facebook is facing criticism for its reluctance to disclose abuses of its customers' data, and also the overall opaqueness surrounding its data-sales practices. Facebook executives have embarked on a media apology tour and have even paid for full page advertisements in daily newspapers to apologize to users.