Apr 7, 2022 - Technology

Americans' trust in tech companies hits new low

Percentage who say they trust technology businesses to do what is right, select countries
Data: 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Trust in tech companies has continued to decline in the U.S. and Canada, while rising in most of the rest of the world. That's according to fresh data from Edelman's annual 2022 Trust Barometer, shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: The decline in trust comes as pressure is mounting for regulators and legislators to more tightly regulate the industry and its perceived excesses.

By the numbers:

  • Globally, the tech industry remains the most trusted sector of business, earning the trust of 74 percent of those served, ahead of healthcare and education. By contrast, social media is the lowest ranked sector, trusted by only 44 percent of respondents.
  • However, only 54 percent of Americans trust tech companies to do the right thing, down three percentage points from last year and a whopping 19 points since 2019.
  • In the U.S., the decline in trust was seen across a number of the most talked-about sectors, including 5G, artificial intelligence, "internet of things" and virtual reality.
  • Those with higher incomes tended to trust tech more than those in lower income brackets. However, the gap narrowed last year, with trust improving among lower-income Americans and falling among the wealthy.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Democrats said they trust tech companies, while only 49 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of independents said the same.

What they're saying: "The trajectory of trust in tech makes complete sense if you consider it within the context of world events," said Dan Susong, chair, U.S. Tech Sector at Edelman. "I'd suggest that tech can — and will — regain trust if it commits to better education — about what it is, what it does."

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