SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON, March 26 2018 : Opinion polls published yesterday in the United States and Germany indicated that a majority of the public were losing trust in Facebook over privacy, as the firm ran advertisements in British and U.S. newspapers apologising to users.
Fewer than half of Americans trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released yesterday, while a survey published by Bild am Sonntag, Germany’s largest-selling Sunday paper, found 60 percent of Germans fear that Facebook and other social networks are having a negative impact on democracy.
“We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it,” said the advertisement, which appeared in plain text on a white background with a tiny Facebook logo.
The world’s largest social media network is coming under growing government scrutiny in Europe and the United States, and is trying to repair its reputation among users, advertisers, lawmakers and investors.
This follows allegations that the British consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to users’ information to build profiles of American voters that were later used to help elect U.S. President Donald Trump in 2016.
Warner repeated calls for Zuckerberg to testify in person before U.S. lawmakers, saying Facebook and other internet companies had been reluctant to confront “the dark underbelly of social media” and how it can be manipulated.
Zuckerberg acknowledged that an app built by a university researcher had “leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014”.
“This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time,” Zuckerberg said, reiterating an apology first made last week in U.S. television interviews.
Facebook shares tumbled 14 percent last week, while the hashtag #DeleteFacebook gained traction online.
The Reuters/Ipsos online poll found that 41 percent of Americans trust Facebook to obey laws that protect their personal information, compared with 66 percent who said they trust Amazon.com Inc, 62 percent who trust Alphabet Inc’s Google, 60 percent for Microsoft Corp.
The poll was conducted from Wednesday through Friday and had 2,237 responses. (reut.rs/2G9hvrv)
“It’s psychologically harder to let go of a platform like Facebook that’s become pretty well ingrained into people’s lives,” she said.
Data supplied to Reuters by the Israeli firm SimilarWeb, which measures global online audiences, indicated that Facebook usage in major markets and worldwide remained steady over the past week.
“Desktop, mobile and app usage has remained steady and well within the expected range,” said Gitit Greenberg, SimilarWeb’s director of market insights. “It is important to separate frustration from actual tangible impacts to Facebook usage.” – Reuters