As Facebook celebrates its 20th anniversary in February 2024, a global survey conducted by the Thales 2024 Digital Trust Index reveals a significant trust deficit among users towards social media companies. With personal data privacy at the forefront of user concerns, the survey of 12,000 individuals worldwide indicates a mere 6% trust in social media platforms. The skepticism is most pronounced in Japan, with a trust level of 2%, and the UK, where only 3% express trust. The UK stands out for its caution, with 26% of Brits unwilling to share any personal information, in stark contrast to the global average of 14%.
In the US, trust in social media is comparatively higher at 10%, yet this figure is still alarmingly low. The lack of confidence is attributed to ongoing data breaches and misuse, as highlighted by Javvad Malik of KnowBe4. Despite this, users continue to engage with these platforms, often feeling powerless to change the status quo. The Thales report underscores the urgent need for social media companies to adopt a new approach, focusing on transparency, accountability, and user empowerment to rebuild trust.
The survey found that industries such as banking, healthcare, and government services, which are subject to stringent regulations, enjoy relatively higher levels of trust at 44%, 41%, and 37%, respectively. This trust is likely tied to the rigorous protection of sensitive data in these sectors. Moreover, the report emphasizes the importance of a seamless digital experience, with 80% of customers expecting effortless digital onboarding and 87% anticipating some degree of privacy rights in their online interactions.
To enhance digital trust, Thales recommends implementing risk-based authentication, passkeys, passwordless authentication, progressive profiling, consent and preference management, and modern Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions. These measures aim to strike a balance between security and user experience. As Facebook and other social media platforms navigate their third decade, prioritizing trust-building initiatives will be crucial in fostering a safer and more accountable digital environment.