How Americans really feel about Facebook, Apple, and more

Casey Newton and Nick Statt and Michael Zelenko

This year marked a sea change in our attitude toward tech’s largest players — and not for the better. Facebook, with a user base twice the size of the Western Hemisphere, seems to be in the midst of an identity crisis: CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent much of 2017 on a national tour that The New York Times billed as a “real-world education.” Meanwhile, the platform has become embroiled in a national debate that started with fake news and has evolved into an investigation into how the Russian government weaponized the network to influence the 2016 presidential election. Next week, the company will be brought to testify in front of Congress on the matter.

Amazon made considerable headway in its quest to serve every part of our lives, from acquiring Whole Foods this summer to rolling out a plan to get keys to our front doors just this week. Apple continues to amass a vast reserve last valued at $260 billion, but its top-tier devices have lost their luster, and it’s been years since the company released a truly game-changing product. Twitter has come under increased scrutiny for harassment and bot armies of nefarious origin, which may explain its tepid user base growth despite becoming the new unofficial platform for American politics. And there’s a growing sense, underlined by this summer’s $2.7 billion EU antitrust ruling against Google, that the entire cabal of big tech companies have turned the corner from friendly giants to insidious monopolies.

Big tech companies have turned the corner from friendly giants to insidious monopolies

We wanted to know how you felt about these companies. So late last month, The Verge partnered with Reticle Research to conduct a wide-ranging survey on the public’s attitude toward some of the biggest names in tech. This is the first in what will be a series of semi-annual Verge studies tracking the public’s attitude toward the companies we’re increasingly dependent on.

This survey, conducted from September 28th to October 10th, included 1,520 people nationally representative of the US, based on 2016 US Census estimates. The margin of error is ±3 percent, with a confidence level of 95 percent.

The findings are fascinating: respondents trusted Facebook less than Google, and “trust” was a primary factor for individuals who abstained from using Facebook overall. Respondents trusted Amazon almost as much as their own bank. Of all the companies named in our survey, respondents were most likely to recommend services from Amazon to their family and friends. Twitter sits on the opposite side of the spectrum: a quarter of respondents said they are probably, or not at all likely, to recommend the service.

Read our breakout reports or scroll down to see our full deck of findings below

Correction, 11:09 a.m.: This article originally included a slide that asked respondents about Facebook’s business model. Due to an error in the wording of the question, the slide and corresponding analysis have been removed.