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7 in 10 Americans Don’t Trust Facebook With Their Private Data: Poll

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
Published: December 27, 2021
The majority of Americans think Facebook is bad for society.
The majority of Americans think Facebook is bad for society. (Image: cloudlynx via Pixabay)

Facebook, now known as Meta, has gone through several scandals in recent years that involve censoring conservatives and the inability to block misinformation, for example. These scandals seem to have soured people’s impression of the platform.

According to a recent poll by Washington Post-Schar School, the majority of American citizens do not trust Facebook at all when it comes to their private data. The survey was conducted among 1,122 U.S. citizens in November. A significant number of pollsters believe tech firms do not give their users enough control over how their activities are tracked and utilized.

“72 percent of Internet users trust Facebook ‘not much’ or ‘not at all’ to responsibly handle their personal information and data on their Internet activity… Only 10 percent say Facebook has a positive impact on society, while 56 percent say it has a negative impact and 33 percent say its impact is neither positive nor negative. Even among those who use Facebook daily, more than three times as many say the social network has a negative rather than a positive impact,” WaPo reports.

Seven in 10 people from the survey felt that their phones or other devices might be listening to them without their knowledge. One 46-year-old female accountant revealed talking to her husband about going to Disneyland. She soon started getting ads for Disneyland passes on her Facebook account. 

Big tech firms like Amazon and Facebook have consistently denied that they access users’ microphones without consent. Some experts believe that these companies already have sufficient private data about an individual to determine their likes and dislikes.

Eighty percent complain that they have no control over how the platforms track and use their online activities. Over 80 percent see targeted ads quite often; data is collected to create these targeted ads. Seventy-four percent see targeted ads as invasive while; 82 percent feel that they are annoying. Sixty-six percent of internet users do not feel targeted ads are that helpful even though companies insist that such ads help users find the products they want. In 2020, advertising accounted for 98 percent of Facebook’s total revenues, generating $84 billion. 

A poll conducted by CNN in November found that almost three-quarters of Americans feel that Facebook was making society worse. This view was consistent across racial, gender, and age groups.