Trust wanes, but users remain for Facebook

Surveys showed that the platform’s recent PR woes involving user data has eroded trust, but many are still logging in daily or several times each day.

Facebook is currently dominating headlines and social media buzz—but not in a good way.

The platform’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was applauded by analysts for the way he handled Congress members’questions on Capitol Hill yesterday, but as day two (this time in the House of Representatives) carries on, the social media discussion is far more critical.

That hasn’t stopped people from logging into Facebook, however—and recent surveys indicate that Facebook’s PR problems might not affect user statistics.

A Pew Research Center study published in March revealed that 68 percent of all adults in the United States are Facebook users—and with the exception of people 65 and older, the majority of U.S. social media users are on the platform.

These users are regularly accessing Facebook, too: The study showed that 74 percent of users visit the platform each day, and more than half (51 percent) access Facebook several times a day.

Data mishandling and negative headlines aren’t stopping Facebook love, either.

A recent survey conducted by Bospar PR and Propeller Insights revealed that 66 percent of Americans say they like Facebook. That percentage beat several other companies in the percentage of people favoring them, including Twitter (50.6 percent), LinkedIn (55.3 percent), Uber (52.1 percent) and WeWork (49.4 percent), while Microsoft (83.7 percent) and Google (88.9 percent) towered over Facebook in terms of likeability.

However, liking a platform and trusting it are proving to be two different stories.

Though the majority of survey respondents said they like Facebook, less than half (45.3 percent) trust the platform. Compare that to Microsoft or Google—which both had more than 77 percent of respondents say that they trust the organizations—and there’s a noticeable loss of trust for the social media giant.

Despite not trusting them, 59.9 percent of respondents said they expect Facebook to grow.

Pew Research Center reported that YouTube was the only platform to challenge Facebook’s share of users, with nearly three-fourths of all U.S. adults using the video platform. When it comes to Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, user percentages across demographics drop.

In a similar manner, most social media platforms show lower percentages of people accessing them daily or multiple times during the day.

Snapchat came behind Facebook, with a total of 63 percent of daily users (49 percent log in several times daily). Instagram was close after, with a reported 60 percent of users accessing the platform at least once a day, with only 38 percent logging in several times daily.

Much of the discrepancy of a platform’s average use comes down to demographic elements, such as age.

Pew Research reported:

Americans ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely to use platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter even when compared with those in their mid- to late-20s. These differences are especially notable when it comes to Snapchat: 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds are Snapchat users, but that share falls to 54% among those ages 25 to 29.

The study showed that a person’s age wasn’t the only thing to affect the likelihood of using a particular social media platform.

Forty-one percent of women say they use Pinterest, for example, in comparison to 16 percent of men. WhatsApp—which is popular in Latin America—is used by 49 percent of Hispanic social media users in the U.S., compared to 21 percent of black U.S. social media users and 14 percent of white users.

No matter what platform comes out on top, however, many say they’d be willing to give it up.

Pew Research reported that 59 percent of social media users said it would not be hard to give up using social media, and 29 percent said it wouldn’t be hard at all to stop logging in. In comparison, 40 percent said it would be hard to quit using social media platforms, and 14 percent said it would be very hard.

The number of those who say they could disconnect from Facebook and other platforms still outnumber those hooked on social media—but the addiction is growing, especially among younger ages. In a January 2014 study, 28 percent said they would have a hard time giving up social media, with 11 percent saying it would be very hard.

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