Commentary

Polls Show Majority of Americans Have Turned on Facebook Amid Crisis of Trust

Combined Shape

If you’re still a fan of the analog news source known as the “newspaper,” you may have opened Sunday’s edition to find a very public apology addressed to you by someone you know very well: the people at Facebook.

“We have a responsibility to protect your information,” the apology read.

“If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.”

Unfortunately for them, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll reveals most Americans believe they don’t deserve it and are turning on the social media giant.

“Fewer than half of Americans trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday, illustrating the challenge facing the social media network after a scandal over its handling of personal information,” Reuters reported.

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The poll, conducted Wednesday through Friday, found that only 41 percent of Americans trusted Facebook to obey the law.

Perhaps most tellingly, the poll took place as the social media giant began releasing its first statements following the Cambridge Analytica scandal — in which the data of 50 million users was accessed without their knowledge — began.

And things were hardly better abroad.

A poll by Germany’s largest Sunday paper, Bild am Sonntag, found 60 percent of Germans thought that Facebook, along with its social media cohort, were having a negative effect on democracy there.

Do you trust Facebook to respect your private information?

Sunday’s apology, which did not mention Cambridge Analytica by name, came in the form of a full-page ad signed by Mark Zuckerberg that was run in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

“You may have heard about a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014,” the ad read.

“This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” the ad continued. “We’ve already stopped apps like this from getting so much information. Now we’re limiting the data apps get when you sign in using Facebook.

“We’re also investigating every single app that had access to large amounts of data before we fixed this. We expect there are others. And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.

“Finally, we’ll remind you of which apps you’ve given access to your information — so you can shut off the ones you don’t want anymore,” the ad concluded. “Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you.”

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Unfortunately for Facebook, fewer and fewer people are believing in the community — and not just because of the Cambridge Analytica issue.

Facebook has recently faced criticism over allegations of partisanship when data discovered conservative sites were disproportionately hit by Facebook algorithm changes, with the most conservative websites showing a traffic decline of over 27 percent while the most liberal sites remained largely unaffected.

The firm was also hit by charges from a former top Obama campaign member that Facebook personally helped them during the 2012 presidential race and turned a blind eye when they extracted certain user data that wasn’t supposed to be publicly available.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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