A new survey by Insider Intelligence has found that only 18% of US social media users trust Facebook to protect their data and privacy. This is down from 27% last year and is the lowest level of trust in Facebook since the company’s inception.

Facebook’s Paradox of Popularity and Distrust

The survey also found that confidence in Facebook’s privacy is particularly low among older and younger users. Only 10% of baby boomers and 18% of Gen Z users trust Facebook with their data.

Source: insiderintelligence.com

According to Statista, in 2022, Millennials exhibited the highest level of trust in the social media giant, while Baby Boomers were the least trusting. Only one in ten individuals belonging to the Baby Boomer generation believed that the social media platform adequately protected their privacy and data.

Share of social media users in the United States who feel that Facebook protects their privacy and data as of September 2022, by generation
Source: Statista

With roughly 2.98 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2023, Facebook is the most used online social network worldwide. The platform surpassed two billion active users in the second quarter of 2017, taking just over 13 years to reach this milestone. In comparison, Meta-owned Instagram took 11.2 years, and Google’s YouTube took just over 14 years to achieve this landmark.

Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2023(in millions)
Source: Statista

Despite the low levels of trust, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in the world, with over 2.96 billion active users. So why do people keep using Facebook if they don’t trust it?

Key Motivations Behind Facebook Usage

Source: Demandsage

The data presents the percentage of respondents who engage in specific activities on Facebook and the corresponding reasons for doing so.

Messaging friends and family remains the primary use of Facebook for the majority of respondents, with 71.3% indicating its importance in connecting and communicating with loved ones. The platform’s messaging feature allows for convenient and easy communication, enabling conversations, sharing personal updates, and staying in touch.

Additionally, 64.5% of respondents use Facebook to post or share photos and videos, highlighting its popularity as a platform for sharing personal experiences and memories. Users leverage this feature to showcase their lives, special moments, and media files with friends and their broader network.

Moreover, 60.1% of respondents rely on Facebook to stay up to date with news and current events. The platform has become a significant source of news and information, allowing users to follow news outlets and pages through its News Feed feature, ensuring they remain informed about the latest happenings across various topics.

Facebook News Feed Algorithm
Source: TechCrunch

Furthermore, 55.7% of respondents use Facebook to follow, research, or engage with brands and products. This signifies its value as a platform for businesses to connect with their target audience. Users seek information, promotions, and updates from their favorite brands while discovering new products through Facebook advertisements and brand pages.

Lastly, 55.1% of respondents use Facebook to find funny or entertaining content. The platform offers a diverse range of engaging content, including memes, videos, and humorous posts. Users turn to Facebook for entertainment, finding enjoyment and relaxation in funny or captivating content that provides a welcome break from their daily routines.

Source: Sprout Social

With the rising popularity of social media as a customer service tool, Facebook has emerged as the preferred platform. According to the 2022 Sprout Social Index, 60% of consumers now turn to Facebook for customer service inquiries. Moreover, a significant majority of marketers, accounting for 69%, utilize the platform to deliver customer service support.

Facebook Strives to Rebuild Trust Following the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

The platform’s reputation took a hit in 2018 after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the company was found to have allowed the political consulting firm to harvest the personal data of millions of users without their consent. This led to a significant decline in public trust in Facebook, with only 27% of Americans saying they trusted the company to protect their personal data in 2018.

In response to the scandal, Facebook has taken some steps to address user concerns, such as tightening its privacy policies and making it more difficult for third-party apps to access user data. However, it remains to be seen whether these measures will be enough to regain the trust of users.

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