The Noisy Channel


Facebook More Trusted Than Google (!)

December 15th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

According to a Ponemon Institute report on the 20 most trusted companies in the United States, Americans trust Facebook more than they trust Google. A look at Ponemon’s press release shows Facebook ranked at #15, while Google fell out of the top 20 from its rank of #10 in 2007.

I don’t know enough about the study to evaluate its methodological soundness, but I found it astounding that “do no evil” Google would score lower than the company that tried to bring us Beacon.

But perhaps there’s a method to the popular madness. While Facebook may raise more privacy concerns than Google, it seem to be pursuing a policy of transparency in how it exposes and uses the data it collects. Google, in contrast, tends to be a bit more cagey about its policies. I may be reading too much into this one data point, but I’m tempted to see a lesson that users value honesty and transparency over privacy.

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Zach Heller // Dec 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Interesting post. This is very surprising. As someone who has written alot about both companies, I have started to see a shift in trust away from Google, though a lot of that may just be because of “incorrect” journalism. By that, I am referring to articles like the one in today’s Wall Street Journal, which attacks Google on net neutrality. Google has already written a response that shows the WSJ as misinformed.

  • 2 Daniel Tunkelang // Dec 15, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I try hard not to propagate shoddy reporting, and I’m glad I resisted the urge to comment on the WSJ piece before Google and Larry Lessig spoke for themselves.

    As for the Ponemon study, I don’t have any reason to doubt its accuracy. You’re right that Google may be a victim of media bias. But I also think some of the distrust is the result of Google’s being a bit cavalier about privacy concerns. Facebook, for better or worse, took the opportunity to learn from experience.

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