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Facebook less trusted than Amazon, Google, survey says

U.S. adults are more than twice as likely to trust Amazon than Facebook with their personal data, a Placecast survey says.


People don't go to Facebook to shop for necessities, or even for luxuries, so it's not surprising a survey released today found that folks don't want to share their personal data in return for service on the social-networking site.

The survey -- done by Placecast, a location-based marketing firm -- found that U.S. adults are more than twice as likely to trust Amazon than Facebook with personal information. The firm aimed to gauge Americans' comfort with relinquishing private data in exchange for receiving marketing promotions offline, online, and through mobile devices.

Sixty-six percent of U.S. adults who know how Amazon uses personal information to target product searches and promotions thought the practice was "somewhat to very acceptable," versus 33 percent saying the same for Facebook. One oddity in the numbers, though, was women ages 18 to 34. A little more than half this demographic, which makes up a majority of Facebook's most active users, was fine with targeted ads on the social network.

Overall, people were more willing to give their information to grocery stores for a similar purpose. Even Google -- which is known for being "creepy" -- was more trusted than Facebook, according to the survey.

The comparison hardly seems fair. It's not a stretch to believe that people are more willing to give up information in exchange for tailored coupons from their grocery store or targeted ads while they're searching online for information or products. People don't want to deal with ads while they're checking out what their friends are up to.

"Facebook's business is based on the use of consumer data to target ads. They clearly have a challenge convincing their huge user base that there is value in the exchange of personal data for a free service," Placecast CEO Alistair Goodman said in a press release. "In contrast, Amazon is a company just a few years older than Facebook, but they have created a scenario where consumers understand and accept the benefit their data provides for the service they are receiving -- much like consumer's acceptance of grocery coupons tied to purchase data."

See more stats in the PDF below.