The evidence is becoming clearer and clearer that few adults trust Facebook – at least in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Indeed, research from YouGov and The Economist [pdf] finds that only a slim majority (54%) of those with an opinion of Facebook have a favorable view of the social media platform, in stark contrast with other big tech companies.
The study asked 1,500 US adults their opinions on a variety of social media and other tech companies. For the purposes of this article, we’ve looked closely at the favorability of the largest 3 (Google, Amazon and Facebook), by calculating the percentage of adults with a positive opinion from those who hold any opinion (by excluding those who “don’t know”). This article will also summarize favorability with other tech companies and social platforms without eliminating those without an opinion (a large proportion in many cases) from the analysis.
The vast majority (92%) of adults surveyed have some type of opinion of Facebook. While those opinions lean favorable, there’s obviously a lot of ambivalence about the platform.
Among those who expressed an opinion about Facebook, 54% said it was “very” or “somewhat” favorable, with that leaning more towards the “somewhat” than the “very.” By contrast, among the 46% who have an unfavorable opinion, more said their opinion was “very” than “somewhat” unfavorable.
Interestingly, 18-29-year-olds hold the worst opinions of Facebook: just 42% of those who expressed a view of the platform said it was a favorable one.
Looking at other demographic cuts (with these percentages limited to those who expressed an opinion), the research finds that:
- Favorability is far higher among women (61%) than men (46%);
- Black adults (66%) and Hispanic adults (63%) are far more likely to have a favorable opinion than White adults (52%); and
- Favorability is considerably lower among affluent ($100k+) than lower-income (<$50k) adults, at 46% and 63%, respectively.
The overall favorability ratings for Google are significantly higher than they are for Facebook. Among those expressing an opinion about Google, 83% said it was a favorable one.
Favorability was rather consistent across age groups, ranging from a high of 85% among 18-29-year-olds to a low of 77% among those 65 and older.
Across other demographic cuts:
- Google’s favorability (among those expressing an opinion) was higher again among women (85%) than men (78%);
- Fully 90% of Black adults with an opinion of Google hold a favorable view of it, compared to 84% of Hispanic adults and 80% of White adults; and
- Lower-income adults (84%) have a slightly more positive view than affluent adults (80%).
Amazon (which just revealed for the first time that it has 100 million Prime members), like Google, holds high favorability ratings: 82% of those with an opinion have a positive one.
Unlike Google, though, 18-29-year-olds have the least favorable opinion: just 71% with a perspective have a favorable one, compared to at least 85% of the other age groups.
Once again, women (87% of those with an opinion) hold a more favorable view than men (77%), and Black adults (91%) are also again among those with the most favorable outlook.
The differences in favorability were not as stark as with the other companies above when sorting by income group.
Other Social & Tech Companies
The following highlights favorability ratings for other companies included in the report, this time without eliminating the “Don’t Know” responses (which can be higher than half of respondents for some platforms).
- 40% of adults overall have a favorable view of Twitter (24% don’t know), rising to 57% among Hispanics and 52% among Black adults;
- 37% overall have a favorable view of LinkedIn (41% don’t know), with this figure highest among affluents (56%);
- 51% overall have a favorable opinion of Pinterest (32% don’t know), with this figure highest among women (61%) and 30-44-year-olds (59%);
- Just 22% overall have a favorable opinion of Tumblr (including 33% of 18-29-year-olds), but that’s largely due to 58% not having an opinion, as favorability outweighed unfavorability;
- Roughly half (47%) have a favorable opinion of Instagram (32% don’t know), highest among Hispanics (64%) and Black adults (61%);
- Some 31% overall have a favorable opinion of Snapchat, matched by the 31% who have an unfavorable opinion, though Snapchat scores well with Hispanics (50%), Black adults (49%) and 18-29-year-olds (51%);
- Only 25% overall have a favorable opinion of Reddit (including 37% of 18-29-year-olds and of Hispanics), though that’s largely again due to most (57%) not having an opinion, as favorability outweighs unfavorability;
- About three-quarters (76%) overall have a favorable opinion of Microsoft, with this figure highest among those ages 65 and older (81%) and with household income of at least $100k (81%); and
- Some 46% have a favorable opinion of Tesla (36% don’t know), with positive views of Tesla highest among 30-44-year-olds (53%) and affluents (57%).
Many of these findings can be traced back to the demographic make-up of these platforms: for example, Instagram is popular with multicultural groups, while Pinterest has a strong female audience and LinkedIn leans towards high-income households.
For more on the demographic constitution of the top 6 social media platforms, see MarketingCharts’ 4th annual US Media Audience Demographics report.