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People's trust in tech is at an all-time low, study finds

Numbers have plummeted during the pandemic.

Some people are becoming more skeptical of tech. 
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Trust in the technology sector is rapidly declining around the world, according to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer. In fact, levels hit an all-time low in 17 of 27 countries surveyed, including China, the US and Australia. 

In the US, tech also saw the biggest decline in trust compared to other sectors like fashion, entertainment and retail. While tech was the most trusted sector in the US in 2020, it fell to ninth place in 2021, Edelman says. 

Separately, among the 11 countries Edelman surveyed in its 2020 Trust Barometer Spring Update, which was more COVID-focused, all but one (Saudi Arabia) saw a drop in trust in tech during the pandemic, specifically from May 2020 to January 2021.

Further, in 2016, tech was the most trusted sector in 20 out of 22 countries. But this year, it was No. 1 in only seven countries: Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Indonesia and India.

Tech has played a critical role in keeping people connected during COVID-19 lockdowns, but it's also been a source of ample misinformation related to the virus, preventative measures and vaccines. Companies including Facebook and Twitter have come under fire for not doing enough to combat false information on their platforms.