Mark Zuckerberg’s former pollster has the data to prove it.

Mark Zuckerberg’s former personal pollster, Tavis McGinn, thinks Facebook is having a negative impact on society. Based on his most recent survey, it seems much of the world agrees.

McGinn, who used to track the public’s perception of CEO Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg while working for Facebook, left Facebook after just six months and launched his own polling company, Honest Data. The 18-person company conducts market research for large tech firms. It hasn’t accepted outside funding.

A recent survey McGinn conducted found Facebook is not well regarded in many parts of the world.

Australia, Canada and the U.K. had the highest share of respondents — about 33 percent — who say that Facebook is having a “negative impact on society,” according to McGinn’s new survey.

Americans were similarly disenchanted, with 32 percent of Americans — the equivalent of 54 million people — saying Facebook has a negative impact on society. For context, that makes Facebook less of a societal ill than Marlboro cigarettes but worse than McDonald’s fast food. It’s also considered far worse than Google, which just 7 percent of Americans considered to have a negative impact.

Countries where the percentage was lower, like Japan, tend to be places where people aren’t as likely to use Facebook.

McGinn didn’t survey people about what those negative impacts might be but he thinks they’re myriad.

“In the U.S. obviously we’re very focused on election interference, and in the U.K. they’ve been focused on that as well with Brexit,” McGinn told Recode. “But there are also things like, ‘how does it affect children, how does the platform create addiction, how does the platform encourage extremism, how does the platform push American values onto other countries?’”

There’s also the issue of Facebook’s data policies, which McGinn, who spent three years at Google, says are a result of Facebook’s DNA.

“The culture has always been focused on driving usage, on getting more people to use and how to get them to spend longer on the platform,” he said. “It influences every decision, large and small.”

McGinn had a unique job at the company: He was tasked with tracking the public’s perception of Zuckerberg and Sandberg at a time when it seemed to many like the Facebook CEO might run for president. McGinn says he isn’t trying to take shots at his former employer — he just thinks the data is too important to ignore.

“This is a point in history where we really need to fix these things,” McGinn said. “That to me is more important than any one person’s career.”

Zuckerberg isn’t running for president, but he was in Washington this week for a very different reason: He was testifying before a House congressional committee about how Facebook collects and uses people’s data. The hearing was scheduled after Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica debacle in which data from as many as 87 million Americans was shared without their consent to an outside research firm.

The polls were conducted in January and February among 10,000 consumers in 10 countries. Some 53 percent of Americans didn’t think any of the listed companies — Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix — had a negative impact at all.

Recode – All Go to Source

Rani Molla

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