U.S. consumers largely do not trust Facebook with their personal data in exchange for relevant services, a new survey has found—and Facebook isn’t alone.
The survey, conducted between July 13 and 23 by the first-party data company Jebbit, found that consumers are not entirely trusting of most major brands with their personal data in exchange for more relevant offerings.
Jebbit asked 400 U.S. adults to answer how much they trusted 100 of the biggest consumer-facing brands in the U.S. with personal data in exchange for “more relevant offers, goods and services” on a scale of one to 10. A score of one represented a consumer not trusting the brand, and a score of 10 represented complete trust. Each of the 400 people surveyed rated 25 brands.
Out of all of those brands, Facebook scored last, with a mean score of less than 3.1.
The highest-scoring brand included in the survey was Visa, with a mean score of about six. Amazon and Google—which, like Facebook, collect massive amounts of consumer data—scored second and third on the ranking, with mean scores of 5.9 and 5.6, respectively.
Microsoft and Nike rounded out the top most-trusted brands among consumers. The survey included cable companies Comcast and Charter along with Facebook as some of the worst performers on the survey.
The results suggest that consumers are willing to provide personal data to brands if the value they get from it is worthwhile, said Ben Cockerell, Jebbit’s vp of marketing.
“The data value exchange is there for those who are good stewards of the data and who are providing real value,” Cockerell said.
Jonathan Lacoste, the co-founder and CEO of Jebbit, said the results also show an opportunity for brands to build more trust with consumers. The growing focus on data privacy, GDPR and the possibility of state or federal legislation concerning personal data protections have culminated in an inflection point in the industry, Lacoste said. He added that he wasn’t surprised that the study found low overall levels of consumer trust with brands that collect personal data.
“If you look at the raw data, only one company got above a six out of 10, and the vast majority of the top 50 [scored] in the 4 or 5 range,” Lacoste said. “ … There’s still a lot of room for growth for a lot of these companies as they are navigating through this difficult time.”
It’s worth noting that Jebbit—which offers marketers tools to collect and analyze first-party data directly from consumers through surveys, quizzes and other interactive tools—could stand to benefit from the results of its study if brands use the company to collect consumer data in a way that’s intended to increase consumer trust.
Facebook has had a particularly tough year, beginning with the March revelation that the political firm Cambridge Analytica collected the personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users to serve highly targeted and personalized political ads.
In the past several months, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have testified in front of lawmakers to address numerous questions about the platform, including concerns about fake news, hate speech and ad-targeting capabilities, the latter of which have been found to allow for various forms of discrimination.
In the last several months, Facebook ran a global ad campaign intended to win back trust from the public. It’s also rolled out a number of changes to its products, including its ad-targeting capabilities and privacy settings, to address other concerns.
“Over recent months, we have made our policies clearer [and] our privacy settings easier to find and introduced better tools for people to access, download, and delete their information,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement about the survey’s results. “We’ve also run education campaigns on and off Facebook to help people around the world better understand how to manage their information on Facebook.”
The spokesperson added: “We know that we still have more work to do, which is why we are working on building Clear History: a way for everyone to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, clear this information from your account and turn off our ability to store it associated with your account going forward.”
Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vp of global marketing solutions, said that rebuilding trust with consumers was top of mind at the company.
“Trust is the most important thing,” Everson told Adweek. “Without trust, we don’t have a relationship with either consumers or marketers or our platform partners.”
Everson said she thought Facebook’s biggest challenge was educating its users about the steps Facebook has taken.
“How do you build trust with a friend, a partner, a spouse?” Everson said. “You build it every day by actually doing what you say, being very transparent, being humble, having full acceptance of responsibility … We are doing so much, but it’s really hard to communicate that in a succinct and simple way.”