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Why Facebook and other companies are losing consumers' trust and what can they do about it?

Updated: May 21

2022 Edelman Trust Barometer's recent study shows that societal trust is eroding in commercial, political, and general areas. This has impacts on all aspects of society, from citizens trust in their government to consumer trust in brands and businesses.


We at Beehive AI set out to understand Trust erosion, what drives it and ways to reverse it. And what better way to do that, than let people speak their minds, freely and at a large scale, and give you the answers.

To quickly come up with valid answers, we took advantage of Beehive AI’s Qualitative Intelligence platform’s speed and scale. The analysis focused on 4 ubiquitous brands: Amazon, Walmart, Facebook, and Google.

We were interested not only in the level of trust that the people felt towards these companies, but more importantly the drivers of trust (or lack of) and what could change those perceptions.


The Beehive AI Qualitative Platform rapidly collected and analyzed over 30,000 free-form responses, accompanied by over 70,000 quantitative data points, from over 10,000 adult US residents, representing a margin of error of under 1% with a 95% confidence level. The data was automatically weighted by the platform to reflect the demographic composition of the US adult population.


Here, we are sharing just a few takeaways that Beehive AI’s qualitative Intelligence platform uncovered. Reach out to us if you want to learn more.


Overall, there was little Trust to go around. Not one of those brands was trusted by a majority (over 50%), though Amazon was the closest with 49%. Facebook fared the worst with a negative Net Trust Score (NTS).


If we define the Net Trust Score (NTS) as the % of consumers who trust a brand minus the % of consumers who distrust a brand, we get:

  • Amazon: 30% NTS, with 49% of consumers trusting Amazon

  • Walmart: 21% NTS, with 42% of consumers trusting Walmart

  • Google: 14% NTS, with 33% of consumers trusting Google

  • Facebook: -13% NTS, with 28% of consumers trusting Facebook

As you can see, the retail companies we tested, as a segment, are more trusted by consumers than the information technology companies we analyzed. Moreover, very different things drive the trust and distrust in those companies.


When it comes to distrust, Google and Facebook have data safety, privacy, and honesty issues. Amazon and Walmart have practice issues, in specific employee conditions.


After analyzing consumer’s responses on distrusting each company, the AI identified over 150 reasons for distrusting a company, and here are the top 4 for each company.


Now perhaps the most important question: how can these companies gain trust? Again, we see a big difference between the information tech companies and the retailers.


After analyzing the data, the AI uncovered specific and actionable ways companies can help their distrusting consumers to begin trusting them.


Naturally different segments of the population will have different opinions. For example, 18-24 year olds are much more distrustful of Facebook compared with 45-54 y/o, but not for the reasons the media is focusing on.


Facebook’s NTS (Net Trust Score) with 18-24 y/o is a whopping -37%, with only 17% of that age group trusting Facebook, while its NTS with the 45-54 y/o is -9% with 29% of that age group trusting Facebook. That is a HUGE difference!


Two factors contributed to this huge difference:

  1. 18-24 y/o were 6X MORE likely (36% vs. 6%) to express privacy concerns with Facebook

  2. 18-24 y/o are simply less trusting in general and were ~2.375X MORE likely (19% vs. 8%) to be classified with “General Distrust”

The 45-54 y/o on the other hand were more concerned about security issues (16%, e.g. scams) and political bias (11%).


Trust is a big and complex subject and we didn’t aim to cover all findings in this post, so feel free to reach out to us if you want to explore this, or other topics, in-depth.


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Qualitative Intelligence (QI) platform Beehive AI provides a winning combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) coupled with iterative learning.

Beehive AI will provide insights to define your target market and tell you what your customers really want right now. It’s time to optimize your market strategy, boost conversions and increase revenue. Beehive AI is buzzing to help you grow your business and achieve success.





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