Consumer Trust in Facebook Nosedives After Cambridge Analytica Scandal

New poll shows less than half of Americans now trust the social media site with its data

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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When it comes to privacy issues, Americans’ trust in Facebook is taking a nosedive, a new poll shows.

As Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook continue to face backlash from politicians and the public over the Cambridge Analytics scandal, a poll released this weekend by Reuters shows that only 41 percent trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws.

By comparison, 47 percent of those polled say they trust Yahoo! — a site that suffered its own pair of personal data breaches in 2016 — while 60 percent trust Microsoft and 62 percent trust Google. Amazon leads the major tech companies with 66 percent.

In addition, a majority of those polled said they don’t like the targeted advertising that websites create with their personal data and want the government to step in and regulate Silicon Valley. Of those polled, 63 percent said they want to see “less targeted advertising” on sites they use, compared to 9 percent who say they wanted more. Meanwhile, 46 percent of adults said they want more government regulation when it comes to companies’ handling of private data, while 17 percent said they want less.

Last week, it was revealed that political data firm Cambridge Analytica — which is co-owned by former Trump White House Senior Adviser/Breitbart Chairman Steve Bannon and conservative billionaire donor Robert Mercer — was able to access the personal data of 50 million Facebook users without their permission. That data was then used to build a psychological profile of user and was purchased to aid President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

In response to this news, Facebook announced that it was banning Cambridge Analytica from advertising on its site, but that didn’t save the company from suffering a big hit to its stock and reputation. Shares in the company dropped 14 percent last week, resulting in a personal loss of $10 billion for Zuckerberg.

On Twitter, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook started trending, gaining the support of some Silicon Valley magnates like Elon Musk, who announced he was deleting the Facebook pages of his companies Tesla and SpaceX. Politicians in the U.S. and U.K. voiced their outrage and have demanded that Zuckerberg and other top Facebook executives testify about the data leak before Congress and Parliament.

On Sunday, Zuckerberg took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to address the leak, calling Cambridge Analytica’s actions a “breach of trust” and promising that Facebook is “now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” including reviewing all apps on the site that handled large amounts of data before the leak.

“We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it,” Zuckerberg wrote. The ad had Zuckerberg’s signature on it and was placed on page 15 of the Sunday edition of the Times.