People seem to have full faith in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), still. There have been a bunch of incidents in the past for which Apple has faced criticism and earned distrust of consumers. For instance, the battery throttling scandal which came to light last year, a glitch in Apple Maps, and a while back Antennae controversy in 2010. Amid the recent fallout over major Silicon Valley giants for mishandling personal data, Apple came out to be at par with the tech companies that are most trusted by customers.
In a recent joint survey from SurveyMonkey and Recode, the US respondents were asked which tech companies they trust least with their personal information. The possible choices were Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, Lyft, Twitter, Snap, Netflix, Uber and off course Facebook.
Just 2% of them answered Apple, putting the company in a tie with Snap and Amazon. Fortunately, 56% of the respondents said they trust Facebook the least with their personal information among all major tech companies. It is not very surprising as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress this week regarding data breach and privacy violations, and the poll results clearly show that people have gone berzerk.
Google is a distant second in the survey with only 5% votes, followed by Uber and Twitter each getting 3%. Recode added that 20% chose ‘none of the above‘ and 4% didn’t answer.
The survey clearly indicates that people still trust Apple much more than other tech giants when it comes to handling personal data. Despite the sluggish sales of iPhones and significantly high price of Apple products, customers continue to confide in the brand with their personal information. Also, the controversial iCloud hack of 2014 and later throttling scandal last year apparently didn’t have a long-lasting effect in terms of trustworthiness among users.
Surely, it appears that there is some recency bias at play on seeing the survey. Facebook had to emerge as the least trusted brand considering the incumbent scenario of data security and transparency. If the survey had been taken last year during the height of Apple’s throttling controversy, or when Travis Kalanick, then Uber CEO, had to step down from the post, and Facebook was untouched, the results might have turned out quite differently.
In an almost similar survey by the Verge last October, the level of trust in Apple lags behind some other tech companies. 10% of the people said they ‘greatly distrust‘ Apple with their personal information, while 15% said the same for Facebook and Twitter. Also, in Ponemon Institute’s 2012 list of most trusted companies in terms of privacy, Apple dropped out of the top 20.
Apple has a decent track record on consumer privacy and it is adamant that its never going to sell any private information of any Apple product – iPhone, Mac, or iPad – users.
Tim Cook, CEO – Apple, has worked hard to differentiate from other Silicon Valley giants. This is what he said in an interview in March –
“We could make a ton of money if we monetized our customers – if our customers were our product. We’ve elected not to do that. We’re not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty.”
Apple’s recently released iOS 11.3 has intriguing updates and security measures. A pop-up on your screen on this latest version will show you Apple’s commitment to data and privacy. You will find this message on the landing page – “Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right, so every Apple product is designed to minimize the collection and use of your data, use on-device processing whenever possible, and provide transparency and control over your information.“