The exact number of people* who trust Facebook is... [POLL]

Filed Under: Data loss, Facebook, Featured, Privacy

facebook logoDo you think Facebook is trustworthy?

Do you even have a clue what that's supposed to mean?

No? Neither do we!

Like, say, does it pertain to trusting the company with your real, actual birthdate, instead of lying through your teeth because you're careful with your privacy and you assume that the company could accidentally leak everyone's date of birth (it's happened!)?

Maybe Facebook wants to know if you trust it to keep your data out of the hands of the National Security Agency (NSA), as the Washington Post's Brian Fung guesses, or whether you trust it to show you only the Farmville updates that truly matter.

Facebook isn't explaining, but it is asking.

As Fung reports, Facebook asked him and others recently to take a "quick and painless" survey on user experience, in multiple-choice form.

What it asks: how happy you are with Facebook, whether the service is easy to use, if it's reliable or not, and whether you think it is trustworthy.

Now, obviously, Facebook isn't the first entity to ask users whether they trust it or not. Plenty of others have done the same (and then gone on to actually share the results).

Fung cites a few polls, including a AP/CNBC survey from last year that found that 59% of respondents said they had "little or no trust" that Facebook will keep their personal information private. (Note that users said they don't trust Facebook, but they aren't giving it up, either.)

Another poll, this one done by Reason and published in September, found that respondents deemed both the NSA and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) more trustworthy than Facebook (or Google).

But wait! There's more!

To top off this mushy trust cupcake with the most sublime cherry of them all, when Naked Security polled users in October 2012 about whether one should trust accurate, truthful information to sites such as Facebook, exactly 92.92% of respondents as of 2 January 2014 had said that the prospect looked like a nice, tall glass of NOPE (all hail the Oatmeal!).

So yes, there's plenty of data out there on how little faith Facebook users place in the service, however you define "trust".

But Facebook won't be adding to that data set, given that it's declined to share the results of its own polling.

A spokesman told Fung that Facebook does doesn't share the data it collects from the survey, though it's happy to get the feedback.

We are constantly working to improve our service, and getting regular feedback from the people who use it is an invaluable part of the process.

That's nice. But we still want to know the results.

I did the due diligence of asking Facebook if it wanted to elaborate on that statement, but I hadn't heard back by the time this was published. I will update this article once I get a reply.

At any rate, since Facebook is keeping the results to itself, maybe Naked Security could poll the same question. (You'll have to decide exactly what "trustworthy" means to you on this one).

Here goes:

Image of handshake courtesy of Shutterstock.

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25 Responses to The exact number of people* who trust Facebook is... [POLL]

  1. Delta Tango · 643 days ago

    Facebook is like smoking. After a few drags of your first stogie you read the warning labels in shock and dismay but, alas, it's too're hooked

    • Tim · 642 days ago

      simple rule for facebook use, if you don't want the world to know (or profit), don't put it on facebook...

    • Bert · 441 days ago

      Those who lack the willpower to give up their addictions when faced with the grim prospects of continuing to feed such addictions, will one day reap their rewards! This is how life is. Get used to it!

  2. Where can we find the results of the "How likely are you to recommend Naked Security to a friend or colleague?" poll?

    • Anna Brading · 643 days ago

      Hi Matthew, it's used to rate our Net Promoter Score which is currently at 48.

  3. I know it's too much to ask, but I AM a bit curious as to the demographics.

    Okay, I'll admit, I'm mostly curious as to who actually voted for "Extremely trustworthy". Do they work for facebook, or should I start working on some deeds to the Brooklyn Bridge?

  4. If it's about money, I do not trust it. The internet as a whole is dangerous IMO.

  5. Anonymous · 643 days ago

    I, and this is sad.. trust Facebook more than Google. Google can go straight to the devil as far as I'm concerned.

  6. TonyG · 643 days ago

    Personally I wouldn't rank anything as extremely trustworthy - not my even my own carefully managed IT, with multiple firewalls.

    Controversially, I consider Microsoft's cloud services as probably one of the more trustworthy ones around - having been taken to task in the past by the EU, they had to take a long hard look at security and privacy. Facebook, on the other hand, changes its privacy settings so regularly that it is difficult to keep track - I think they change things more often than Ito Facebook.

    • Robert Hannah · 643 days ago

      As one of the people that has been burned by Microsoft's security and I am still paying the consequences of that, I would not trust their security at all. I also read that 1 in 5 Microsoft accounts has been compromised. Once that primary account is compromised, any underlying accounts that you have with Microsoft will also probably be compromised because the underlying accounts are attached to the primary account. You also have no way to regain control of the compromised primary account. It is totally web based with no phone number to call. I did not grant permission to Microsoft to allow someone access to my account. They granted it without my permission and then they changed the password totally locking you of the account.

      • GuenterP · 643 days ago

        Sorry, to me, this rather smells like an attack on your computer or mobile device. My theory: somebody stole your login/password from your computer - there are numerous ways to do it, look out for 'keylogger', just as an example - and took posession of your account. I cannot believe that Microsoft would take away your account without notifying you of their reasons. I'm sure that you actually can contact Microsoft, tell them what happened and ask them to correct the situation. However, before contacting them you should be sure that usage of your account had been conforming to their General Terms ... and did not violate any laws.

  7. Sizzle · 643 days ago

    I don't even trust myself!?

  8. jowo · 643 days ago

    Of course, folks who read this blog are not exactly a random sample.

    • empp · 643 days ago

      My thoughts exactly. People who are concerned about security are much more likely to view articles on this site and less likely to trust any site blindly. The results are definitely skewed. I would be interested in how people have responded to the poll on facebook since the demands of that situation are different and regular users may not be as likely to express their skepticism there. I would suspect it is not as positive as they would like, otherwise they might be more inclined to release them.

      • John Doe · 641 days ago

        I think these comments would be absent had Lisa posted the footnote that's referenced by the ' * ' in the title of the article.

        The note on the RSS feed I received from Naked Security reads as [quote]
        ...what we here at Naked Security will tell you (IF you take the poll), being all open to sharing 'n' stuff. That's in stark contrast to the zip-lipped Facebergians themselves, who are polling users about the trust thing but won't tell anybody the results. *We hereby definitively define "people" as being "our readers."
        [end quote]

        • Lisa Vaas · 632 days ago

          You're right, John Doe, I should have included that subhead in the article itself... my bad!

  9. Lily · 643 days ago

    I've been attempting to get out of Facebook for what seems like eons!
    I had read that one's information is open to hackers for two weeks
    when one "resigns." Is this true and if so, is there any way to get
    around it? I loathe Facebook .....

    • i know that when you leave FB they assume you cannot be serious so keep the account 'in limbo' for up to a month 'just in case' and if you log in for any reason during that time they reopen it all again and you have to ask to close it again and wait all over again. it's annoying and ridiculous, any other site just gives you an 'are you sure, this cannot be undone' warning. i loathe FB too

    • Steve-O · 643 days ago

      I still have an account with Experian and as far as I know, it will never be deleted. I even managed to talk to people that worked there (yes, real people actually work at credit bureaus) and verified I'm stuck. Lesson learned. Ever since then, before setting up a new account, I look at how that account can be deleted. So far, I've only ran into one other site that couldn't delete accounts, so I didn't create one.

      FYI - I did delete a facebook account about 6 years ago. I first wiped all data that I could. It was hidden from public, but I went on to try to hide from my own network as well IIRC. Then I closed it down. I don't recall having any issue with that at that time.

  10. Andrew · 643 days ago

    Facebook security ,that is a joke. as for Microsoft another pile of junk.
    It seems to me these companies don't really care about security they only care about the profits

  11. Si C · 643 days ago

    Well, I trust Facebook to be a large money generating service. Does that count?

  12. Steve-O · 643 days ago

    You can trust a thief to steal and a liar to lie. To me, undefined trust is pointless. I imagine the results of FB's poll weren't exactly positive and releasing such data to the public would not help them from a PR perspective

  13. asm-wolf · 642 days ago

    A little while back I broke into lots of facebook accounts (those of friends, with permission) using nothing more than an android app that sniffs session cookies and performs ARP spoofing as SSL was very rare. I think this situation is better now, but I still don't trust them after this.

    Side not - I do not mean this to show off, the app was on the android market and was trivial to use.

  14. Greg · 642 days ago

    You need to be cautious about citing the Naked Security survey results as "accurate". I would say they come from a biased sample populations. I suspect those who subscribe to Naked Security are a little more knowledgeable about these issues and probably more paranoid about them as well. The results do make sense, since it would be expected that those who are knowledgeable about the issues would not trust a Corporation who makes there money from targeted advertising.

  15. mikeyjt · 640 days ago

    You can't trust any company whose sole purpose is to make money from the selling of information. Facebook has it easy because so many people are so willing to post so much of their information online.

    And despite all their assurances, nothing is truly secure online.

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.