Brands can fix failing trust in social media

The last year has seen a shift in attitude towards social media companies and the trust is diminishing. The recent Facebook scandal has led to international regulation changes such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy policy simplifications on social media sites.

These changes have been implemented to make it easier for users to understand the fine print. Ultimately, the user needs to know what their personal information (submitted when creating a social media account) is being used for.

People have started losing faith in certain social media companies amidst claims that their personal information was being sold to advertisers and other third-party businesses. The question is, how can we make social media sites better for users and protect their personal information?

Brands can put pressure on social media companies

One possible solution is for big brands to put pressure on the social media companies to regulate false news and to protect private data. Brands have strong financial power over social media sites as they are the main source of advertising income.

This solution was vetted by around 70% of social media users around the world, according to a 2018 study conducted by global public relations company Edelman. Social media users agree that brands can play a role in limiting fake news and protecting personal user information.

Advertisers and brands hold more power than individual users when it comes to improving social media. One major cause for concern for brands is when their adverts appear near negative content such as hate speech.

Almost half of all social media users associate a brand with the content around it. If an advert appears next to inappropriate content, the brand is likely to be tarred with the same brush. This means that brands have a lot to gain by ensuring that social media platforms are safe and that inappropriate content and false news accounts are limited.

Widespread decline in trust of social media

The Edelman study showed that social media users around the world are losing faith in the platforms. Only 40% of users believe that social media companies are succeeding in controlling the spread of false information and hate speech.

Similarly, 60% of social media users don’t trust social media platforms with their personal information. Nearly three-quarters of users blame their declining trust on the abundance of clickbait, fake news and cyberbullying on social media platforms.

This steadily-diminishing trust is having real consequences for social media companies, which also impacts brands. Around 40% of digitally-connected people have deactivated or deleted one or more social media accounts in the last year, due to a lack of trust.

Brands have a lot to lose

Not only does this affect user numbers for social media companies, it also diminishes audience views for advertisers and brands, and the total income generated from advertising. Social media platforms have long been the go-to place for brands to connect with their target markets.

New product launches, consumer feedback and relationship-building have been the key benefit of social media for brands since the late 2000s. The more social media trust declines, the more brands stand to lose.

Multinational brands have the most influence over social media companies, but even small, local brands can play their part. Social media companies around the world have been trying to update their privacy policies and simplify their terms and conditions, but whether this has an improved effect on user trust is yet to be seen.


Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.


Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.


Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.


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