A poll was published Sunday that indicated Facebook users in the United States and Germany were losing trust in the social media giant over privacy concerns. The firm ran advertisements in British and U.S. newspapers this weekend to apologize for the breach of trust.
The Reuters/lpsos poll showed fewer than half of Americans trust Facebook to follow U.S. privacy laws and a similar poll by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag showed 60% of Germans are afraid Facebook and other social media are having negative effects on democracy.
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The advertisements Facebook ran featured its CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologizing for "a breach of trust" and they appeared in prominent papers including the Observer in Britain, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. "We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can't, we don't deserve it," he said.
Facebook is facing growing government scrutiny in Europe and the United States even as the company scrambles to repair trust with lawmakers and users alike. U.S. Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for Zuckerberg to testify in person before U.S. lawmakers after accusing companies like Facebook of not confronting "the dark underbelly of social media".
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Zuckerberg acknowledged a university research app "leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014." The CEO said, "This was a breach of trust, and I'm sorry we didn't do more at the time." Data from the Reuters study also showed that global audiences have remained steady for Facebook in the last week despite the negative attention.
Gitit Greenberg, SimilarWeb's director of market insights said, "Desktop, mobile and app usage has remained steady and well within the expected range. It is important to separate frustration from actual tangible impacts to Facebook usage."
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