7 Surprising Findings About How Americans View Tech
A study from The Verge explores which platforms we trust and rely on the most.
Ever wonder what everyday consumers think about leading players in technology?
The Verge recently joined forces with Reticle Research to conduct a survey on Americans’ opinions toward various tech giants including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google. The initiative polled more than 1,500 U.S. adults and explored which companies they trust and rely on the most, and those they could do without if they were to disappear.
1. Americans trust Amazon with their personal data.
The pervasiveness of Amazon—63 percent of Amazon customers are also Prime members—is a telltale sign that trust in the company is relatively high. In fact, people trust Amazon about as much as they trust their bank.
2. Americans say Amazon and Google are the most indispensable tech giants.
When asked to provide a number on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) indicating they would “care very much” if the companies disappeared tomorrow, more than 50 percent of respondents ranked both Amazon and Google a 5, and approximately 20 percent ranked each a 4.
3. Amazon is the most likeable tech platform, per respondents.
Regarding how Americans feel about using products and services from tech companies, Amazon again came out on top. Per this study, 60 percent of respondents said they “greatly like Amazon.” For comparison, only 25 percent of people felt the same way about Twitter. In fact, Twitter and Facebook were the platforms most likely to elicit “strongly dislike” responses, per the chart below.
4. One-third of Americans say Twitter is dispensable.
Upon ranking the brands or tech companies they couldn’t live without, a third of respondents “wouldn’t care at all” if Twitter went away tomorrow. In fairness, Twitter has a relatively niche following of 330 million mostly-ardent supporters, and the company’s stock climbed 17 percent in December 2017.
5. People trust news on Facebook more than you’d think.
Despite all of the fake news concerns launched at Facebook following the 2016 election cycle, everyday consumers actually deem news found on the platform as about as trustworthy and accurate as other sources. One explanation for this finding could be due to the so-called “echo chamber effect,” in which Facebook users are algorithmically served content that aligns with their existing values and believes.
Following this theory, it would make sense for people to deem the news they see on Facebook as “trustworthy and accurate,” since the content likely matches up to their respective worldviews.
6. Facebook is viewed as a messaging platform first and foremost.
A few years ago, Facebook was seen and used as a platform for sharing content such as photos, videos, and articles. Per this study, however, the use case seems to be evolving, with more people seeing it as a way to message and stay connected.
Per this survey, the top five uses of the platform are: sending private messages to friends and family (66 percent), sharing personal videos or photos (55 percent), reading, watching, or sharing news about the world (52 percent), sharing personal happy updates (50 percent), and communicating with a group (41 percent).
This shift was supported by decisions including the purchase of WhatsApp, which gives Facebook a stronger foothold when it comes to messaging, as well as their purchase of Instagram, which gives them control of a separate app that’s optimized for creating and sharing content. Interestingly, per this study 60 percent of people were unaware that Facebook owns Instagram.
7. Public perception of the News Feed isn’t as bad as you’d think.
Despite ongoing criticisms that Facebook has tipped the balance of the News Feed too far in the direction of brand-sponsored messages, respondents said the News Feed is more interesting/relevant (25 percent) or about the same (30 percent) as it was one year ago. This is hopeful news for Facebook as they continue to use the real estate for sponsored posts.
Per The Verge, this study is part of a new series of semi-annual research efforts designed to gauge the public’s attitude toward “the companies we’re increasingly dependent on.”
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