Facebook is, by some distance the most mistrusted tech company in the world according to a new poll from Toluna via Recode.
The poll, which was carried out between 9th and 15th December asked one thousand people which tech companies they thought were the least trustworthy with user’s personal information.
Facebook top by miles
An enormous 40% of respondents opted for Facebook. To put that into context, the companies who came joint-second in the poll, Twitter and Amazon, polled just 8% of the vote each.
Uber came next on the list with 7% of the vote, while Google will no doubt be extremely pleased to have only ended up fifth in the rankings, with 6% of respondents naming them, the same number as the other big online taxi company, Lyft.
It is no big surprise to see Facebook comfortably topping this poll given the year they have had, although the distance between them and the next companies on the list should be cause for concern for them.
However, in many ways, it seems that Facebook has almost given up trying to win back to trust of their customers. Just a few weeks ago, around the time this poll was carried out, a Facebook flaw saw the private photos of 6.8 million users accidently shared with developers.
The companies response to this latest privacy crisis was risible. After releasing a brief statement which explained the flaw and how many users were affected, they concluded by simply saying, “we’re sorry this happened.”
This statement sounds like a grumpy schoolkid being forced to apologise for hitting someone in the playground and certainly doesn’t carry any suggestion of genuine remorse or that they might be learning from these mistakes to stop them being repeated.
Scandal upon scandal
Last week, there was another scandal, as the New York Times revealed that Facebook had bent its own privacy rules to give privileged access to user data to more than 150 companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify.
It says a lot about Facebook that stories such as these are no longer front page news.
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year and Facebook’s abject failure to get to grips with the fake news epidemic which is threatening not just American democracy, but the democratic process in countries all around the world, they no longer have quite the power to shock as they once did.
The company is now synonymous with privacy breaches and its policy of maximising its profits at the expense of its users is now well known. This is after all the company of Mark Zuckerberg who, in 2004, after founding Facebook described the Harvard students sharing emails and pictures on his site as “dumb f*cks”.
Remarkably, the result is this new poll is actually an improvement for Facebook. The last time this survey was carried out, back in April, they were picked by 57% of the respondents.
The media influence
This earlier poll was carried out at the height of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and suggests that the negative reaction to Facebook is as much down to what happens to be in the media as with any serious misgivings with Facebook as a company.
Indeed, despite all the negative publicity Facebook has received this year, membership numbers have continued to grow with emerging markets proving especially lucrative.
Our advice to any privacy-conscious readers would be to steer clear of Facebook if you possibly can.
If you have to use Facebook, try to do so anonymously. Use a clean webmail address to set up an account and do not post any private or personal details on there.
Never connect Facebook to any other website or social media site you use and, most importantly, always connect to a VPN like ExpressVPN before logging in to Facebook to ensure that your location and IP Addresses are kept hidden.
And lastly, when using Facebook, always remember, don’t post anything on there that you don’t want Facebook to sell on to the highest bidders.