Gone are the days when an overwhelming majority of users had positive feelings about social media. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Americans have turned against social media by wide margins.
For the two big social media companies—Twitter and Facebook—the numbers have dropped precipitously, according to the report. While only 36% of respondents had positive feelings about Facebook, less than a quarter (24%) said that they had positive feelings about Twitter.
What’s driving these negative feelings? Four major points of concern have emerged in the poll.
82% of respondents felt that social media “wastes our time.” Another large number (61%) said social media outlets “spread unfair attacks and rumors.” A majority (55%) believes that social media “spreads lies and falsehoods,” and maybe most damning for the platforms, 57% said that social media “divides us.”
“That’s a pretty negative set of views and it doesn’t get better on the question of people trusting social media companies with their information, particularly Facebook,” said Dante Chinni, a data/politics reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
Interestingly, the negative sentiment appears to be just limited to social media platforms, not affecting technology companies in general. Majorities of Americans say they have positive feelings toward Apple (54%), Google (63%) and Amazon (65%).
Overall, 60% of those surveyed said they are “more hopeful” than worried about the changes that technology could bring in the next five years, according to the survey.
“A full 60% of Americans say they do “not at all” trust Facebook to protect people’s personal information,” notes Dante. “That number compares poorly to figures for other large tech firms — 37% of Americans say they do “not at all” trust Google and 28% say that about Amazon.”
Given this overwhelming negative sentiment against social media platforms—especially Twitter and Facebook—is it time for publishers to rethink their content distribution strategies?
Not so fast. In spite of what people say about social media, the survey also found that large majorities of those groups (more than 60%) say that they use it at least once a day.
A pretty significant number of users may not like social media all that much, but they aren’t prepared to leave it either, yet.
So for now, an uneasy détente prevails.
Download WNIP’s comprehensive new report—50 Ways to Make Media Pay—an essential read for publishers looking at the multiple revenue opportunities available, whether it’s to reach new audiences or double down on existing super-users. The report is free and can be downloaded here.
Poll images courtesy: NBC News