22 August 2019
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is trying to repair its reputation among users and advertisers. Photo: Reuters
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is trying to repair its reputation among users and advertisers. Photo: Reuters

Facebook losing users’ trust over privacy, polls show

Fewer than half of Americans trust Facebook to obey US privacy laws, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday showed, as the social media giant struggles to limit the damage from a data misuse scandal.

According to the online poll, only 41 percent of Americans said they trust Facebook to obey laws that protect their personal information, Reuters reports.

In comparison, 66 percent of the respondents said they trust Amazon over privacy, while 62 percent expressed confidence in Google, and 60 percent in Microsoft.

Meanwhile, another survey published by a German newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, found 60 percent of Germans felt that Facebook and other social networks were having a negative impact on democracy.

Overall, only 33 percent found social media had a positive effect on democracy.

The survey findings came as Facebook ran full-page advertisements in several British and US newspapers on Sunday apologizing to users over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In the ads, which were placed in publications including The Observer and Sunday Times in Britain and the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal in the US, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for “a breach of trust”.

“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 ads came after revelations that data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to Facebook users’ information to build profiles of American voters that were later used to help elect US President Donald Trump in 2016.

Following the privacy breach scandal, Facebook has come under growing government scrutiny in Europe and the US.

The social network is now trying to repair its reputation among users, advertisers, lawmakers and investors.

US Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press” on Sunday that Facebook had not been “fully forthcoming” over how Cambridge Analytica had used Facebook data.

The Senator repeated calls for Zuckerberg to testify in person before US lawmakers, saying Facebook and other internet firms 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,” the Facebook CEO said, reiterating an apology first made last week in US television interviews.

Facebook shares tumbled 14 percent last week in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the hashtag #DeleteFacebook gained traction online.

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe