Reputation Survey: Facebook - Facebook users still sceptical on privacy

A significant proportion of the social network's members have doubts over privacy and the security of their data.

Privacy remains a major concern for Facebook users ahead of the company's potential $100bn IPO, the latest PRWeek/OnePoll survey has found.

Although many respondents believed Facebook had a healthy reputation (49 per cent), fears over the site's use of personal data persisted, with 46 per cent saying they did not trust Facebook to do the right thing by its members when it came to their privacy. The survey also revealed that half of those polled did not think their data was secure on the site.

The results showed that women spend more time on the site, and visit it more frequently, than men: 46 per cent of women checked the site more than once a day, compared with 35 per cent of men.

Women also engage with brands more on the site; 59 per cent had 'liked' a brand or joined its group, compared with 47 per cent of men, and more had followed a friend's brand recommendation.

Regionally, Facebook has the best reputation in Scotland, with 49 per cent of Scots believing it is an ethical company. In the South East, only 30 per cent agreed. Some 60 per cent of Scottish respondents said they used the site at least once a week, compared with 49 per cent of Londoners. Perhaps surprisingly, 40 per cent of Londoners said they did not visit any social media site once a week or more.

Facebook has the most work to do reputationally with those aged 55 and over.

Although 51 per cent used the site, 40 per cent of them did not believe it had a good reputation, more than double those who felt the same way in the 18-24 age bracket.

Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll.

HOW I SEE IT - Helen Nowicka, UK head of digital and EMEA social strategist, Porter Novelli

Useful, fun, addictive - these are the top three words people use to describe Facebook. That's a potent combination for any brand, let alone one with 30 million UK users.

This stickiness keeps us coming back, with around half of Facebook's users spending three hours or more a week there, while 41 per cent use it more than once a day. Access via mobile devices is accelerating this trend. Consumers expect to connect with brands on Facebook, with more than half of its users doing so.

It's not just what people do that's of interest, but also how they feel. A third said it doesn't communicate service changes effectively. Nearly half worried it wouldn't 'do the right thing' when it came to privacy. And while 48 per cent agreed it has a good reputation, it lags behind Apple, Google and Microsoft. The message seems to be that we can't live without Facebook, but as for our relationship status with the brand, 'it's complicated'.

IPO - WHAT IPO?

59% of respondents said they were not aware of Facebook's plan to float on the stock market

user confusion

41% said they sufficiently understood the site's privacy settings

stuck in its ways

4% cited Facebook as the most innovative of the big tech firms, behind Apple (48 per cent), Google (15 per cent) and Microsoft (13 per cent)

DO YOU AGREE THAT FACEBOOK ...
is an ethical company?
Strongly agree 8
Somewhat agree 28
Disagree 22
Strongly disagree 10
No opinion 32

has a good reputation?
Strongly agree 9
Somewhat agree 40
Disagree 25.5
Strongly disagree 8
No opinion 17.5

will do the right thing for its users' privacy?
Strongly agree 7
Somewhat agree 28
Disagree 30
Strongly disagree 16
No opinion 19

explains changes effectively to users?
Strongly agree 7
Somewhat agree 31
Disagree 26
Strongly disagree 13
No opinion 23

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