Well, that didn’t take long.
In the immediate aftermath of Facebook’s uneven response to the Cambridge Analytica data breach, a new poll finds that just 41% of Americans trust the social networking giant with their personal data. That trust level compares with 66% for Amazon, 62% for Google and 60% for Microsoft. Yahoo was the only tech giant with as meager a trust factor, at just 47%.
The online poll was commissioned by Reuters and conducted by Ipsos from March 21 to 23, several days after the initial reports broke about the extent of the data breach. The poll results were released today.
The poll did ask about other social networks, including Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, but the respondents were not daily users of those services, so their trust level was not measured.
A whistleblower who once worked closely with data researcher Cambridge Analytica told the New York Times and the UK’s Observer last week that the firm obtained data from more than 50 million Facebook accounts without permission. Cambridge Analytica has been closely linked with the Donald Trump Administration since being hired as a consultant by the 2016 Trump campaign. Data from the breach was used to refine targeted political ads, surfacing supporters on the social network.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not immediately address the scandal, but after five days of silence embarked on a mini apology tour. In one interview, on CNN, he called the episode “a major breach of trust” and outlined reforms the company planned in order to prevent any issues down the line. He then took out full-page ads in six major newspapers this weekend. “We have a responsibility to protect your information,” the ad said. “If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.”
Among the other noteworthy findings in the poll were the 46% of respondents who said the government should increase the amount of regulations that restrict Facebook’s activities. And yet, an overwhelming majority of respondents said they have not taken any basic steps during the past month to better protect themselves from potential privacy breaches. Asked if they had tried “unplugging” their phone or personal device in order to increase protection, 90% said they had not.