Huawei is more trusted by the UK public than Facebook, according to the results of a UK consumer survey conducted by Censuswide. The survey examined attitudes towards the big messaging platform providers (i.e. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp), as well as wider consumer trust in the technology sector.
The geopolitical issues affecting Huawei appear to have had little effect on how UK consumers view the Chinese firm. Only 11% of respondents have expressed a desire to stop using their products or services. In contrast, over 32% of Britons desire to stop using the services and products developed by Facebook, with a further 14% of UK consumers also expressing a desire to stop using Facebook-owned services, Instagram and Whatsapp.
Despite recent privacy scandals, only 10% of Britons are actively looking to stop using services/products developed by Google. A further 11% of UK consumers are actively looking to stop using products or services developed by Apple.
According to the survey, 58% of UK consumers do not trust the big messaging platform providers with their personal data. Meanwhile, just 5% of Britons state that they ‘completely’ trust these firms when it comes to how they handle their data, with 63% of survey respondents also answering ‘no’ when asked whether or not they believe that the big messaging platforms respect their privacy rights.
Currently, only 6% of UK consumers surveyed believe that these firms ‘completely’ respect their right to privacy online.
Additionally, 73% of Britons have seen their trust in the big messaging platform providers (e.g. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp) erode over the last 2 years, with just 3% of UK consumers retaining the same level of trust they had at the beginning of this timeframe.
The survey also examined the factors that would encourage users to switch messaging services. ‘Ensuring that my privacy was respected’ was the most common answer, with 48% of respondents picking this option.
Data portability (i.e. the ability to transfer conversation history/contacts when switching services) and interoperability (i.e. the ability to contact people on different platforms) also ranked highly. A combined 54% of UK consumers chose these factors as reasons to switch messaging providers.
When asked what features they would like to see added to messaging apps, Britons generally opted for privacy and transparency over user experience. Meanwhile, 32% of respondents indicated that interoperability was preferable. A further 28% of respondents opted for improved transparency over how their data is used, whilst a further 17% opted for data portability. In contrast, only 16% of UK consumers would opt for improved user experience (UX).
When asked if they would switch to a different messaging service, if a more trustworthy provider were to emerge, 87% of UK consumers said yes.
Open-Xchange chief executive Rafael Laguna said of the findings:
“Today’s biggest privacy risks arguably come from the big messaging platform providers. These businesses are essentially utilities that we rely upon for personal and business communications; yet for a huge proportion of us, trust in these firms is at an all-time low.
“With such a significant chunk of the population distrusting chat applications in particular, a new approach to instant messaging is needed. That’s why Open-Xchange will launch OX COI Messenger a secure, federated, permission-less chat ecosystem that lies within the email IMAP infrastructure and will give users the power to avoid lock-in. It will also allow providers to deliver secure internet services with a great user experience that respect privacy and generate superior margins.”
He said the company planned to release its open instant messaging app as an alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook that can be linked to a user’s email account, enabling them to transfer contacts and message history between different platforms.