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POLL: Most Americans Distrust Social Media Companies on Data Safety

Featured, National

Social media apps on phone. | Image from stnazkul

Most Americans don’t trust social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to keep their data safe, according to a new poll by The Washington Post – Schar School published last week.

More than 70% of respondents stated that they did not trust Facebook to manage their personal information and internet search data responsibly. In addition, 63% of respondents said they don’t trust TikTok to handle their data, and 60% indicated that they don’t trust Instagram.

Amazon and Apple were the exceptions in that they were the “most trustworthy” tech giants, with only 40% of Americans stating they distrust these companies.

Furthermore, Ailan Evans of the Daily Caller observed that Americans expressed their distaste for the practice of data collection. Companies engage in such activity to target advertisements more accurately.

Over 70% of respondents stated that they believe companies compiling their data to target ads is an “unjustified use of people’s private information.”

A substantial majority of Americans are against targeted advertising. Eighty-two percent said they believe the targeted ads are “annoying,” and 74% view the ads as “invasive,” per the poll.

“The fact that people continue to use Facebook doesn’t mean they like it,” Jack Goldstone, director of the Center for the Study of Social Change, Institutions and Policy at the Schar School of Policy and Government, said to the Post. “It’s not unexpected that people would continue to find ways to interact with a program, even if they’re deeply suspicious of its broader social impact. That’s how we’re wired.”

Most Americans favor the federal government taking steps to regulate data privacy. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they believed that the government should take stronger measures regarding how online companies deal with data privacy.

This number is significantly higher than the 2012 figure of 38%.

The poll was conducted from November 4 to November 22. It sampled 1,122 adults, including 1,058 Internet users, and featured a margin error of 3.5%.

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