Australians love to use social media. So why do we still use these platforms when most of us don’t trust them?

In an age where online privacy is more important than ever, it’s interesting to note that we still love to use social media.

Some more than others.

Which platforms do we love the most? And how good do we think we are at picking up on covert advertising on social media? In a recent survey by Hunter and Bligh, it seems that social media platforms have a long way to go to gain our trust. Not that it matters anyway – we still love using them!

Our most treasured social media platform is Facebook, used by 85.7 per cent of our members – more so by women than men. This is followed by Instagram (45.5 per cent), YouTube (40.7 per cent), WhatsApp (23.6 per cent) and finally Twitter (15.7 per cent). Interestingly out of the bunch, YouTube and Twitter are used more so by men than women.

In the same token, 89 per cent of Australians believe Facebook is most used by businesses to advertise their product through sponsored content, followed by YouTube (55.1 per cent) and then Instagram (48.7 per cent). However, less than one in 10 (8.9 per cent) said that WhatsApp is believed to be one of the least likely used platforms for sponsored content. The results were primarily much the same for covert advertising.

Only 6 per cent of Australians believe they are bad at picking up on covert advertising.

When it comes to picking up on covert advertising, most of us believe we are average or better. Only 16.2 per cent of us consider ourselves much better than average. This is interesting considering how much we are lambasted with covert advertising on social media. In regards to age, however, those under the age of 29 do not consider themselves less than average at all when picking up on covert advertising.

On the flip side, with advertising’s main goal being to influence the viewer, at least half of us feel we have control over being influenced by advertising. In fact, 27.3 per cent of us say we have total control. Only 12.2 per cent believe they are easily influenced by social media advertising.

Taking into consideration our love for social media, more than half of us (51.5 per cent) don’t feel comfortable with our personal data being used for tailored content. More so if our personal data is used for tailored advertising (56.1 per cent). Interestingly younger Australians are slightly more comfortable with this.

Older Australians are the least comfortable about the use of personal data for tailored content and advertising. 

And finally when it comes to the overall trust of social media, only 10.1 per cent of Australians have any faith. Furthermore, 22.8 per cent are neutral and over two-thirds (67 per cent) don’t trust social media. Advertising is partly responsible for this distrust, with 42.1 per cent of Australians saying they’ll trust social media more if they weren’t advertising to us, while a whopping 49.1 per cent remain neutral.

So what do you think is driving our distrust? Is it advertising? The rise of disinformation? Or perhaps we’re all just keen on privacy? Let us know your thoughts on our InstagramFacebook or Twitter now.

Love our survey insights? Check out what Australians think of the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics going ahead. Want more tech insights? From NOKIA to Apple iPhone – we’ve uncovered Australia’s evolution of technology.

Feature image: Photographed by dole777. Imave via Unsplash.
Data received by Hunter and Bligh and conducted by CoreData Research, a global specialist financial services research and strategy consultancy. The survey was conducted in June 2021 and received results from 835 Australians.