Americans Trust LinkedIn With Their Data, But They Are Wary of Facebook

Insider Intelligence took their pulse on nine major social platforms

LinkedIn's office in San Francisco hapabapa/iStock
Headshot of David Cohen

LinkedIn has earned the trust of social network users in the U.S., according to the annual U.S. Digital Trust Survey from Insider Intelligence. Facebook? Not so much.

Insider Intelligence polled 1,865 people in the U.S. aged 18 through 74 from May 28 through June 3, seeking their perceptions of nine major social networks in five categories of trust: ad experience, ad relevance, community, legitimacy and security. Here’s how the rankings turned out:\

  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Reddit
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • Facebook

Facebook was the least-trusted social platform when it came to data privacy, with 32% of Facebook users surveyed at least somewhat disagreeing that they had confidence in the platform to protect their data and privacy, compared with just 10% for LinkedIn.

Insider Intelligence senior research analyst Audrey Schomer said in a statement, “Two years after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, we expect that Facebook’s massive data privacy issues during that time have persisted in public memory and continue to be a black mark on its record. This is likely driving nearly one-third of U.S. Facebook users to continue to view Facebook as a platform that doesn’t adequately protect their data. Our research highlights the great importance of data privacy protections by social networks to ensure that user engagement data isn’t mishandled or misappropriated.”

While 53% of Facebook users polled at least somewhat agreed that the platform protects their data and privacy, that figure still ranked lowest among the nine sites in the study.

Insider Intelligence research associate Daniel Carnahan said in a statement, “To Facebook’s credit, it has made efforts to give users more control over their data through opt-in and opt-out features tied to what data is shared and what ads they’re shown, as well as by increasing its own transparency into what data is collected. Nevertheless, it appears that these efforts are still having only minimal effects on U.S. user sentiment.”

TikTok and Twitter did not fare well, either, as 22% and 21% of respondents, respectively, said they at least somewhat lacked confidence in those platforms’ ability to protect their data and privacy.

Meanwhile, 73% of LinkedIn users in the study and 68% of Pinterest users said they at least somewhat agreed that those platforms protected their privacy and data.

Insider Intelligence

Insider Intelligence said, “Digital trust is important for brands and advertisers to consider because U.S. social users say it impacts whether they will interact with the ads they see on social platforms. Even if security scandals don’t drive users to cease engagement, our data indicates that the trust users have—or don’t have—in social platforms could impact their interactions with ads or sponsored content. In fact, 79% of respondents said whether a platform protects their privacy and data was either extremely or very impactful when it comes to their decision to engage with ads. And 30% of respondents said that whether a platform shows them relevant ads had an extremely or very high impact.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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