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US trust in social falls, but tech companies remain favourable


US trust in social falls, but tech companies remain favourable

According to a study conducted by The Verge, the public is becoming increasingly sceptical of social media sites but are still reliant on their services. However, they still look favourably at tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

The tech news provider first conducted its national tech survey back in 2016 in the build-up to the US Presidential Election. Back then, American citizens were starting to come to terms with the reach and influence that social media platforms had. It highlighted that people were wary of Facebook but were still reliant on it, stating that they would miss its services if it were to vanish. In comparison, Amazon and Google remained popular platforms with Americans saying that they liked it.

Fast forward to 2020 and it would appear that these trends have accelerated. More US adults are holding a favourable view of Amazon, with 91% having this view, whereas Facebook is becoming increasingly unpopular, with 29% having a negative view on the site. Americans are now starting to believe that the tech giants are holding too much power and should be split up.

As part of its survey, the Verge found that 72% of respondents believe that Facebook is too powerful, with 51% stating that Google and YouTube should become separate entities.

The results show that Amazon was the US’s favourite tech brand, with Google and YouTube sitting in joint second place with a 90% favourable rating. Third was Netflix with 89%. Social media sites did not fare as well, with Instagram (72%), Facebook (71%) and Twitter (61%) polling the least favourable results.

Another question that was asked by the survey was how much users trust these companies with their data. Microsoft topped this poll with 75% saying they trust this company. Google came fifth with 69% with Facebook coming last with just 41% saying they trust the social media company with their data.

In terms of would they be missed if they were gone, 85% said they would miss Google if it was no longer around. This topped this chart, with social media sites coming towards the bottom of the table, with just 33% stating they would miss Twitter, while 43% would miss Instagram and 55% would miss Facebook.

One final observation of this study was that just 47% of respondents knew that Google owned YouTube, 38% knew that Facebook owned Instagram and only 29% knew that Facebook owned WhatsApp.

The survey was conducted in December 2019 with 1,123 respondents. The results highlight that social media brands are losing trust and popularity among Americans, and that they are not aware of how these services are connected with each other.

It would not be surprising if the UK shared similar views to the Americans, as social media sites have had issues with data breaches and fake news circulation in recent years. However, people are still using these platforms, while other online services such as Google also remain key to online activity. Therefore, businesses need to maintain a presence on these sites, in order to boost their own online presence.

For help with your social media strategy, online brand awareness and online marketing, get in touch with Engage Web today.

Alan Littler

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