How Much Do People Trust Social Media and Other Tech Companies?
People use websites like Google, Amazon and Facebook daily, but how much do they trust these platforms? Consumer trust of social media companies and other tech companies is shifting following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The recent Facebook data scandals have made people more skeptical of big tech companies. While public opinion of Facebook has taken the biggest hit, other social networks and tech companies could be impacted by association. More privacy concerns will likely emerge as more tech giants testify in front of the U.S. Senate.
The BBC reported in January 2018 that “only one in four Britons trusts social media and users would like to see tighter regulation, according to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer.” The survey also found that the majority of Britons believe sites like Facebook and Twitter aren’t doing enough to prevent illegal and unethical behavior.
This survey was before the news about Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook user data broke. The trust in social media websites has generally gone down since the scandal and the testimony by Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook Uses Your Data Profile to Serve Ads
One issue that we are focused on is data profiles, and companies using them to serve targeted ads. Facebook’s Vice President of Ads Rob Goldman used an example of a bike shop that wanted to specifically reach female cyclists in Atlanta. If your Facebook profile suggests you fit the mold, the social network targets ads to you.
Goldman says that Facebook’s advertisers don’t know who you are. They get reports about how their ads are performing, but don’t see information that personally identifies you. This may seem to eliminate any privacy issues, but the fact that Facebook can still use your information to serve these ads is a problem.
Because Facebook tracks as much information as it does it can predict what types of products you’re likely to buy. This isn’t good for people using Facebook because it allows Facebook to influence consumer behavior (make you purchase products you may not need).
Sadly, the biggest websites on the internet have the biggest privacy issues.
— Search Encrypt (@SearchEncrypt) April 18, 2018
Search Encrypt is a private search engine. As such, we don’t track our users’ information. We keep your searches totally private. Big search engines collect your data all over the internet (even when you aren’t on their website). Making sure you trust these companies before you use them is important because of the amount of data they have about you, and every user. If someone was able to hack into these companies’ data and leak it to the public, the results could be devastating.
Use Private Alternatives On The Internet
One problem with the big platforms on the internet is the perceived lack of alternatives. Companies like Google and Facebook do have massive market shares, but there are alternatives to their products.
Rather than using Google as your search engine, you can use private alternatives like Search Encrypt or StartPage. Private search engines deliver search results without tracking you, or using your past internet behavior to influence your search results.
Alternatives to Facebook include smaller niche networks like Vero or Mastodon, and well-know alternatives like Twitter or LinkedIn. The issue with switching to an alternative social network is that your friends aren’t always on the other platforms–which defeats the purpose. Even if you just delete your Facebook account and use Twitter, that means Facebook is no longer getting as much information about you.
If you’ve decided you no longer trust the social networks or the search engine you use, there are private alternatives out there. Although, finding them may require a bit of searching.