Edelman, Social, Transparency, Uncategorized

Consumers Want Brands To Pressure Social Media Transparency, But Can The Tail Wag The Dog?

From the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, of nine countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States:

Over 50% of social media users don’t trust social media companies to behave responsibly with the information they collect about me.

In return, they expect brands to become gatekeeper to keep social media properties accountable.  Surveyed users believe that brands should pressure social on the following issues:

83% believe brands have a strong obligation to protect personal data


  • 71% believe brands should ensure personal data is protected and used ethically
  • 70% believe brands should do more about false information and fake news
  • 58% believe brands should protect users from offensive/harmful content (whether on their own posts or in general was not stated)

Evidence of outrage and threats of boycotts from watchdog groups spans both sides of the political aside resulting in brands avoiding media properties like Breitbart online and Full Frontal Samantha Bee.

Advertising on a selected media property is one thing but “next to/near to” content control is another.  If brands are not proactive in how they use social media, there is a lot to lose.

  • 48% believe it’s a brand’s fault if its advertising appears next to hate speech, violent or sexually inappropriate content on web pages
  • 47% believe that the points of view near a brand’s advertising and marketing message are an indication of that brands values and what it stands for

From an interdependency standpoint, I support a fully accountable media system, but the flaw in consumer perception is that social media is too big and powerful a machine for the little guy consumer to fix, whereas it’s really the opposite.  The consumer is the dog, the lead, the influencer and protecting ourselves, critically thinking about news information and reporting social media violence is the consumer’s responsibility, just as much the brands and other feeders of the machine.

Edelman 2018 Trust Barometer Social Media Report

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