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Is Facebook Making Your Site Less Trustworthy?

Study Looks at Uneasiness of Users

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[ Social Media]

It’s no secret that some people are uneasy with Facebook’s privacy practices, despite the company revising its policies repeatedly. Netpop has released an interesting study finding that 8 in 10 social media users feel “uneasy” or “ambivalent” about sharing personal information on social media sites.

Is Facebook’s presence throughout the whole web good or bad for inspiring trust? Comment here.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 42% of social media users are “Uneasies” (concerned about privacy)
  • 38% … are “Ambivalents” (uncertain about privacy)
  • 20% … are “Laissez-Faires” (not concerned about privacy)

Social Media Privacy Concerns

“Social media is growing in the United States and around the world, prompting Internet users to share an ever-growing amount of personal information,” says Netpop. “Social media platforms are, of course, in the business of making it fun and easy to share more, and do more, with more people. But where does the information go? Who sees it? Who owns it? And how is it used? These questions become increasingly important as social media expand and sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are driven to better leverage (and monetize) our information and social connections.”

“Findings reveal that the vast majority (80 percent) are uncertain or uneasy about the social sites they use,” the firm says. “This is particularly true of Facebook: 85 percent of Facebook users are either uncertain or explicitly concerned. Findings also show that privacy concerns and distrust bear a negative impact on social brands: Users have a significantly lower perception of social brands if they are concerned about privacy or distrust the site to use their information appropriately.”

Social Media Privacy

Compare the above attitudes about Facebook with those about Twitter:

Social Media Privacy

The study also found that users with privacy concerns rate social sites significantly lower in terms of the Net Promoter Score the report looks at, which is a comparison by level of trust that site uses shared information appropriately.

This is something to think about in all of the Facebook-connectedness of the web today. It’s gotten to the point where it is pretty hard to find a site that doesn’t use some kind of Facebook integration.

The fact is that it is simply too attractive to webmasters to use Facebook for a variety of reasons – engagement and traffic among the top. The study brings up an interesting point of discussion. Are some consumers trusting you less because of your Facebook and other social integration?

Keep in mind that Facebook came under more fire for privacy concerns when it rolled out its Open Graph initiative than arguably any other time in the company’s existence. Of course, the company has updated its privacy policies since then, but clearly a lot of people are still “uneasy”.

Facebook was already getting integrated into a good portion of the web before the launch of the Open Graph and “instant personalization,” but that, along with Facebook’s social plugins (most notably the “Like” button, really sent things into overdrive.

Considering it’s only been a little over a year since then, it’s quite incredible to note that you’d be hard pressed these days to find many credible sites that don’t have some kind of Facebook integration.

Facebook has a number of social plugins that sites can (and do) use:

  • The Like Button
  • The Send Button
  • Comments
  • Activity Feed
  • Recommendations
  • Like Box
  • Login Button
  • Registration
  • Facepile
  • Live Stream

Earch of these have potential benefits to a site, in terms of user engagement. No question. Given user “uneasiness” about Facebook, however, you may want to ask yourself how much of this stuff you really want on your site. Better yet, what combintation of this stuff will benefit your site the most, while keeping your audience and their possible concerns in mind. Perception goes a long way.

This info might help with thinking about audience:

Audience and perception

While a plugin like “Facepile” might be designed to actually add trust to a page, there are some users out there who may feel that their privacy has been violated because you are showing that you know who their friends are in the first place. Of course, it is not you that knows. It is Facebook (and for that matter, they have to be logged into FB in the first place), but not everybody understands this. Again, it’s about perception and audience.

Facebook's Facepile Social Plugin

To be clear, I am in no way suggesting anyone lessen their Facebook integration. It’s quite clear that the social network can do a lot to increase your traffic – not only directly, but indirectly through search. Facebook can also bring a level of engagement from your customers that just isn’t possible through other means.

I’m simply saying that if Facebook is making so may people uneasy, you might want to ask yourself if the majority of your audience is likely to fall into this category, and if so, are the benefits of Facebook integration worth bringing this kind of vibe to your own site? And to what extent? Something to consider.

I don’t expect the findings will sway too many site-owners away from Facebook integration, but perhaps it does highlight the need for giving consumers different options in terms of how they connect with your site.

Another study released this week, finds that 47% of Facebook users have profanity on their walls.

Are you concerned about how Facebook perception affects activity on your own site? Share your thoughts here.

Is Facebook Making Your Site Less Trustworthy?
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  • Lisa

    Facebook is an online tragedy live. The intent of this network was to put people together that have lost contact. It has become a breeding ground for the unthinkable and enables people to use it as a tool to cause harm….. bullying, stalking, affairs, suicide, to name a few. There is no law around what facebook has capitalized on, very unfortunate! Keep your eyes open and expect more horrific stories as it grows….

    • http://nope..gotenoughspam Joe Dee

      HARUMPH!!!

    • http://www.fantasyfootballtrader.com Rick

      Is that Facebook or is that the nature of ANYTHING that brings millions of people together though. FB didn’t invent bullying, stalking, affairs or suicide. Those are individual human beings making poor choices, while using FB. But we’re sure expecting FB to monitor and solve all of those problems!

  • http://webpronews.com Susan Coppersmith

    Very Interesting!

    Susan

  • http://nope..gotenoughspam Joe Dee

    For the record.. I HATE facebook and have removed both biz and personal facebook accounts months ago.. also I erased all I could find on those accounts before I canceled service, since they like to save EVERYTHING… like GOOGLE (who I do not patronize either.). I will never go back.. Mark is all about money and attitude.. dun like him either which was the ORIGINAL reason for cancelation… Heard his quote from years ago … “they trust us? ha ha ha…”. I am also not on twsitter while I am on the subject. As far as I am concerned, IMHO, boycott facebook, google and twitter… they are in biz for THEM… not to be NICE to YOU… Aren’t you glad you asked?? LOL common people.. get a LIFE… LIFE is not the internet… that is ANTI-LIFE!

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I take it you’re not integrating it into your site either?

  • http://www.konsis.no/produkt/klistremerker.aspx klistremerker til bil

    Few years back the internet was a beatiful place where everyone could feel anonymous and safe. That was a paradise and the dream come true for many people. Maybe for the most. Those days are gone – we start to track everyone and everything. This is against the internet whole idea. What can we expect next? I say “total control” and total invigilation. I suppose google is the reason. In the name of fighting with spam they will close a possibility to stay anonymous – not directly – but because of fear of being ranked worse by google. If You don’t want comments on your blog/site/anything – just do not make it possible. If you are afraid of having bad links on your site – you are the victim of google policy. What is bad link? A link to a website being marked “bad” by google. The internet whole idea is about hyper links. How should it work if everyone is afraid of putting links on the website? (nofollow is no longer as protective as before – link juice will be taken anyway). At least google suggest it. Anyway – thanks webpronews and Chris for this blog. I am reading almost every post when I got a message to my email. Cheers.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      The web has changed a great deal since Facebook came about. No question about that.

  • http://www.rescueddoggies.com Brian

    The fact is, the US government has given away your privacy aND the privacy of the rest of the world to any company who wants to make a buck.

    You want privacy? Wipe out the judges and the politicians in power right now, have a revolution and wipe out the owners of facebook, twitter right down to the sleazes like girlsgonewild and their pedophile supporters in your supreme court.

    THEN and only then will privacy have meaning again in this world

    • Bator

      Listen to Brian. He speaks the truth.

      This rampant collection and dispersal of private, personal data is deadly dangerous.

      The irony of the facebook plugins at the end of the article is almost painful.

  • Rita

    I hate facebook on everything. Everytime I go to any site facebook pops up. It is like they follow you where ever you go. Is a shame that everybody thinks facebook is the answer

  • Bob

    I know about 100 people who use FaceBook. Not one of them has been harmed by sharing “personal information.”

    Why is there so much talk about this subject in the media and in the SEM community?

  • Iain

    Seemed a great idea at first, but in truth it’s uncontrolled, unpoliced, unregulated, untrustworthy, unprotected, and despite what facebook claims, it’s open to all kinds of abuse and they don’t give a hoot. Privacy? they couldn’t spell the word!

    Looking closer it’s slick manipulation and exploitation of basic human needs and is of no benefit to society, to the contrary really!

  • http://www.plural.ca Paul

    Facebook is what it is – a social networking site. Last time I checked, the definition of social networking did not include the word ‘privacy’. If you want something to remain private, don’t put it on Facebook; it’s really that simple. By the way, this should apply to ANY site (or anything else for that matter) connected to the Internet!

  • http://www.bizeturtle.com Lynn

    I’m noticing more and more people using
    Facebook as a “website” only
    I find this very disturbing and not very wise
    for business
    I tend to not trust someone who only has a “facebook” page
    for their business.
    Facebook is a good social market tool, but I think that’s where it needs to be left at And even that can get scary with so many who do not know how to place an event. Funny how many can not figure out that 12am is midnight and 12pm is noon

  • jack Diodato

    If Facebook doesn’t fix its website I move on. It’s always taken over by some virus. And no way to contact home office. I guess they made enough money as not to care anymore. Facebook is over.

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    Facebook is sort of useful in a way but my problem with them is that if you DO have a problem there is no way to get any help. I had someone hack my account last year and I sent a dozen emails to them to try to get it back and I received no response. Nothing. It’s this attitude that will be their eventual downfall.

  • http://www.antellus.com Theresa M. Moore

    Having been ambivalent myself about Facebook’s effectiveness as a marketing tool from the beginning, about the only thing I have used it for is to interact with friends and acquaintences through my profile feed and avoiding creating a full company page. Instead I have only added a ‘like” button to my site’s front page, but if people are more likely to avoid liking a site (so far they haven’t) I’d rather just remove all mention of Facebook altogether.

  • http://stoprawlogexport.com Art

    Facebook, trust, no chance, I changed my name because of the privacy problems. Facebook is far to big and things can only get worse.
    I started a new business, and soon to air, let me tell ya it ain’t going on facebook.

  • http://www.3alphadataentry.com/ Herat Patel

    Hi there

    No i don`t thing so because if we follow it properly than all will trust it. It depends on the user`s also every update`s submit new thing which has done my the company achievement done by the company in last month etc .

    Thanks

  • http://www.3alphadataentry.com/ Herat Patel

    hi there

    no i don`t thing so because if we follow it properly than all will trust it. It depends on the user`s also every update`s submit new thing which has done my the company achievement done by the company in last month etc .

    Thanks

  • Jolie

    What also is happening, is businesses are feeling that if they don’t join on the social network bandwagon, they will be missing opportunities. (and of course you never know where a customer will find you…BUT I don’t believe that for a company to have a facebook presence validates them any more. We’re just over-stuffing the internet with redundant information. I have grown very weary of seeing facebook everywhere.

  • Joe

    It’s not just FB, it’s also LinkedIn. I find it strange that whenever I access these websites I find they know things about me and with whom I have communicated in the last few years. I don’t like the fact that they feel they have the right to search my personal information on my computer. I also find it strange that no one is talking about LinkedIn regarding privacy and how they come to be in possession of personal and confidential information… I for one am convinced that these sites data mine the communication programs on your pc for information they can use. I also believe that they are not doing this for nefarious reasons, they really believe they are doing this to help us! I would be ok with it if they had enough respect for us to inform us of their practices. Maybe I’m crazy, but there is NO other way for them to know certain things!

  • Damian

    Facebook is only the symptom, not the problem. The only reason such a big deal is made about them is because they got caught out publicly and it hit media attention. More and more the internet companies as a whole have been doing this. Google has been doing it for years.

    Privacy is becoming more and more a term for a bygone age and most people don’t seem to really care that much. Facebook’s only crime — if you could even consider it a crime — is that they capitalize on people’s lassez faire attitude towards their personal information. An attitude that will not benefit them in future years.

    Governments are no doubt very much in favor of this sort of noncommittal attitude from the general public as it helps them to keep tabs on their citizens, but however helpful this may be for them, all it takes is for the wrong kind of people to get into office and very bad things start to happen.

  • http://aler-photography.blogspot.com/ Alexander Rozinov

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    Comment …..

    Hi, all !

    … And you say FB?
    We are have no privacy today! One step online – yiu are done!
    Also don’t forget that idea of FB – share and join!!!

  • http://cheapercosmeticsurgeryabroad.com/Cheap-Gastric-Band-Lap-Band-Surgery-Abroad.html Tim

    Well, you’ve got to integrate facebook into your site, nowadays. It is even starting to look weird if you don’t. Noticed how every film that is released now has a facebook page? Half of them probably don’t even bother with websites anymore. So I don’t think it makes our sites appear less trustworthy.

    Nonetheless, I think we’d have to be stupid to not realise the risk of giving so much information voluntarily to one company. Hell, it even bothers me how much info the government has on me. But they don’t know my friends, my likes, my interests and hobbies…and then using that info to make money.

  • http://liberty-ng.co.tv liberty reserve nigeria

    Facebook or is that the nature of ANYTHING that brings millions of people together though. FB didn’t invent bullying, stalking, affairs or suicide. Those are individual human beings making poor choices, while using FB. But we’re sure expecting FB to monitor and solve all of those problems!

    Very Interesting!

    Susan

  • http://www.hedgehogdigital.co.uk/ SEO Bedford

    So far I haven’t experienced any downsides of integrating Facebook to my website’s and client’s. As a matter of fact results have been rather position with the level of interaction growing by the day. Costumers and prospects are interacting with the posts on Facebook pages which in turn are driving qualified traffic to the websites.

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