Americans Don’t Have Faith In Social Media, Trust Facebook The Least

Sean Gallup Getty Images

More Americans are becoming leery of trusting social media sites, with a more than half of them saying they trust Facebook the least, according to a poll conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The results of the poll, released on Friday, revealed that Americans do not see social media giants like Facebook and Twitter in a positive light, with large majorities believing they spread falsehoods instead of real news and do more to divide the country than unite it.

In addition, results showed that Americans have very little faith in Facebook, with 60 percent saying they don’t trust the company to protect their data. Only six percent of those polled said they trusted the site “a lot” or “quite a bit.”

“Social media — and Facebook, in particular — have some serious issues in this poll,” said Micah Roberts, a pollster at the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies.

Generally speaking, 36 percent of those polled saw Facebook in a positive light, while 33 percent saw it negatively. Twitter fared worse with 24 percent seeing it as something positive, while 27 percent saw it as something negative.

To draw a comparison, 28 percent of those polled trusted Amazon with their information, 37 percent trusted Google, and 35 percent trusted the federal government.

Of those polled, 57 percent said that they thought sites like Facebook and Twitter did more to divide the country, while 35 percent thought these sites united the nation.

Fifty-five percent thought social media sites did more to spread lies and falsehoods, while 31 believed otherwise.

Privacy was a major concern for respondents, with 74 percent of them believing that online companies collecting and using their data for targeted advertising was not an acceptable tradeoff for free or inexpensive services.

Moreover, 82 percent of those polled said social media sites were a waste people’s time, while 15 percent said they believed otherwise.

Interestingly, 69 percent of the respondents said they used social media sites at least once a day.

According to the poll, Americans all across the board were in general agreement. Democrats, Republicans, men, women, urban, and rural residents all shared the same negative attitudes. However, the poll did reveal that younger respondents were less likely to believe that social media divided the country and spread falsehoods.

While respondents may not have much faith in social media sites, they did have faith in technology, with 60 percent saying were hopeful about the changes that technology could bring in the coming years.

NBC and the Journal polled 1,000 adults between March 23 and 27.