Research firm Harris Interactive asked 2,124 American adults if they agree or disagree that some online companies, singling out such companies as Google or Facebook, control too much of our personal information and know too much about our browsing habits, and found that more than three quarters of respondents agreed (76%) with those statements.
Only one in six disagreed that these companies know and control too much (16%) and even fewer are ‘not sure’ (8%). These are some of the findings of a recent Adweek/Harris Poll survey of U.S. adults surveyed online between April 25 and 27, 2011 by Harris Interactive.
So basically, the report claims the large majority of people in the United States thinks that Facebook and Google are essentially evil corporations that store all sorts of information about us, but that doesn’t exactly stop them from using their services, it would appear.
And didn’t Harris Interactive just put out a report showing that Google is considered to be the most reputable company in the United States?
Anyhow, according to Harris Interactive, majorities of both men and women agree that these companies control too much and have too much information about us, although women appear to be somewhat more likely to say this than men are (79% vs. 74%). Also, more affluent Americans are more likely to agree than are Americans who earn less—80% of those who earn $75K or more per year agree, compared to 70% of those who earn between $35 and $50K.
However, says the report, American seem to oppose government intervention to regulate large online companies like Google or Facebook (46%) rather than support it (36%).
From the report:
It seems Americans are torn, possibly between ideals of free enterprise, the products and services that they use and enjoy which these large businesses provide, and their trepidations about companies yielding so much information and power. Either way it will be interesting to track reactions—if people embrace, or rather brace themselves against, these companies as they continue to grow and develop.
My educated guess? The network effect will continue to significantly outweigh any reservations people might indicate when polled online, so Google and Facebook – and other major online companies – needn’t worry too much at this point.
It’s a lot easier to agree with given statements about a service than to actually quit it.
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through their North American, European, and Asian offices...
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...