Most Americans believe Facebook has too much power

A recent survey shows 72% of respondents think Facebook’s power is too extensive. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: A large majority of Americans believe Facebook has “too much power” but many would be disappointed if the social networking giant disappeared, a survey showed Monday.

The “tech trust survey” for online technology news magazine The Verge found 72% thought Facebook’s power was too extensive, even if their overall views of the company were mixed.

Nearly half of the 1,123 respondents expressed concerns over how Facebook handles private user data, the December survey showed. But 55% said they would be disappointed if it disappeared.

There were a range of views, sometimes contradictory, on Big Tech, which has drawn increasing scrutiny for dominating key economic sectors, with antitrust probes in several parts of the world underway.

Roughly nine in 10 said they had “favourable” opinions of firms such as Google, Netflix and Microsoft. The percentage was 80% for Apple, 71% for Facebook and 61% for Twitter.

A majority said Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple had a “positive” impact on society, but only 40% said the same for Facebook.

In the survey, 56% said the government should break up tech companies if they control too much of the economy. But fewer than half were aware that Google owns YouTube and that Facebook controls Instagram and WhatsApp.

But strong majorities said they would be disappointed if Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix or Apple disappeared.

Microsoft led the pack in the number of Americans who say they trust it, at 75%, with Amazon at 73%.