Science, Technology, and Social Media

Most Americans Don’t Trust TikTok, Facebook To Keep Their Data Safe

A majority of Americans don’t trust major social media platforms, including TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, to keep their data safe, according to a new poll.

Over 70% of American internet users say they don’t trust Facebook to responsibly manage their personal information or data related to their internet activity, according to the results of The Washington Post/Schar School poll released Wednesday. Similarly, 63% say they don’t trust TikTok to handle their data and 60% say they don’t trust Instagram.

Amazon and Apple were deemed the most trustworthy major tech companies, with just 40% of Americans saying they distrust the tech giants, according to the poll results.

Americans also said they disliked the practice of data collection, which many tech companies perform in order to more accurately target advertisements. Over 70% said they believe companies collecting their data to target ads is an “unjustified use of people’s private information.”

A large majority of Americans disapproved of targeted advertising itself, with 82% saying they find the ads “annoying” and 74% saying they find the ads “invasive,” according to the poll.

“The fact that people continue to use Facebook doesn’t mean they like it,” Jack Goldstone, director of the Center for the Study of Social Change, Institutions and Policy at the Schar School of Policy and Government, told the Post. “It’s not unexpected that people would continue to find ways to interact with a program, even if they’re deeply suspicious of its broader social impact. That’s how we’re wired.”

Most Americans backed the federal government regulating data privacy, with 64% of respondents saying they believed the government should more heavily regulate how online companies handle data privacy. This number is up from 38% in 2012.

The poll was conducted from Nov. 4-22, and it sampled 1,122 adults, including 1,058 Internet users, with a margin of error of 3.5%.

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