Facebook is useful as a communications tool, but it’s not perceived to be cool and few people think it’s safe from hackers. Those are among the perceptions uncovered by The Verge in a survey of the public’s attitudes towards the big tech companies.
The survey asked respondents which of several statements they agree with concerning Facebook. Some highlights follow:
- Three-quarters agree that Facebook helps them stay in touch;
- More than 6 in 10 agree that Facebook has helped them reconnect;
- About 1 in 3 agree that Facebook has helped them make new friends;
- Fewer than one-third (28%) feel that Facebook is an innovative company;
- Only around 1 in 4 (26.5%) agree that Facebook is cool;
- About 1 in 5 (21%) feel that people represent their lives accurately on Facebook;
- Slightly more than 1 in 10 (11.5%) believe that they couldn’t live without Facebook; and
- Just 5% feel that Facebook accounts are safe from hackers.
The results bring to mind research released a couple of years ago in which teens valued Facebook for communications but were less likely to deem it “cool” than other platforms. In the meantime, Facebook has dropped out of the running to be teens’ favorite social platform.
In terms of Facebook’s activities, respondents to The Verge’s survey said that their most common one is sending private messages to friends or family (66%), followed by sharing personal photos or videos (55%). A majority (52%) also say they read, watch or share news about the world – another indication of its potency as a news source, which is obviously a subject of great debate at the moment as to its classification as a “media” platform.
While almost two-thirds say that the people they need to communicate with are on Facebook, the platform lags when it comes to trust: only 29% trust the social giant. And among those who don’t use Facebook, two of the leading reasons are that they don’t trust it (57%) and that it invades their privacy (49%).
Separate research indicates that just 13% of Americans strongly agree that they trust the social networks that they use.
Amazon Gets the Collective Thumbs Up; Twitter Not So Much
In the general popularity rankings, Americans prefer Amazon and Google over Facebook and Twitter, it seems. Those attitudes are on display in a number of different areas.
For example, the public would care more about Amazon and Google going away tomorrow than they would about Netflix, Samsung, Facebook, Apple, and a number of other companies. Twitter is last on the list on this measure, with few indicating that they’d care if it disappeared tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Amazon and Google are closely tied again at the top of the list concerning the products and services that the public likes to use. Roughly 8 in 10 “greatly” or “somewhat” like using these companies’ offerings. Facebook is next, while Twitter trails in the list of 6 tech companies, with only half purporting to like what it has to offer.
Finally, while the vast majority feel that Amazon, Microsoft and Google have a positive effect on society, only a slight majority feel that way about Facebook. Feelings about Twitter are far more mixed, with just a minority believing it has a positive effect.
The full survey results can be viewed here.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey conducted from September 28th to October 10th among 1,520 people nationally representative of the US based on 2016 US Census estimates.