Survey: Facebook fails at customer satisfaction

Social network scores 64 out of 100 points for customer satisfaction on new e-business report, putting it on par with airlines and cable companies.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Who's worst at customer satisfaction--airline companies, your local cable provider, or Facebook? Well, according to a new study from ForeSee Results, all three are in the dumps, scoring poor grades among consumers.

Released Tuesday by ForeSee Results and the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the latest annual ACSI e-business report gave Facebook a score of 64 out of 100, one of the lowest levels of customer satisfaction among all businesses measured and on par with airlines and cable companies.

When asked what they like most about Facebook, those surveyed focused on the same general theme of being connected and staying in touch with family and friends. But when asked what they like least, people offered a myriad of complaints, including privacy and security concerns, the technology behind the news feeds, advertising, the constant and unpredictable changes in the interface, spam, and navigation.

"Facebook is a phenomenal success, so we were not expecting to see it score so poorly with consumers," Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, said in a statement. "At the same time, our research shows that privacy concerns, frequent changes to the Web site, and commercialization and advertising adversely affect the consumer experience."

In response to its low standing on the index, a Facebook spokesperson told CNET in an e-mail, "We haven't reviewed the survey methodology in detail, but clearly we have room to improve. Building a simple, useful service is the best way to earn and sustain the trust people put in us. That's why we spend so much of our time and energy focused on improving the products we offer and introducing new ones. We look forward to the next survey."


This marked the first year the index measured social-media sites. And beyond Facebook, the entire category fared poorly, rating an overall score of only 70 and just beating out airlines and cable TV providers. Twitter was not included, according to ForeSee, because too many of its users access it via third-party apps rather than directly through its Web site. Among other social sites, though, Wikipedia scored the highest with a grade of 77, followed by YouTube at 73, and MySpace at 63.

Looking at other tech players, Google fell 7 percent in the index but is still tops among other individual portals and search engines with a score of 80. Microsoft's Bing made an impressive debut on the index, scoring 77, followed by Yahoo at 76, AOL at 74, and Ask.com at 73, ForeSee said.

"Google may be suffering from trying to be too many things to too many people, but it still has the most loyal following with 80 percent of its users citing Google as their primary search engine," said Freed. "That said, Bing's first measure is impressive and could put some pressure on Google. The new search engine is already making gains in market share and using clever marketing and advertising to distinguish itself from the market leader."

To compile its satisfaction index, the ACSI interviews consumers based on a model developed at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. The score for each company is based on interviews with 250 different customers, totaling more than 70,000 interviews conducted each year.