Digital Trust Benchmark Report 2021

How US Social Media Users Rank Social Platforms on Privacy, Safety, Deceptive Content, Ad Relevance, and Ad Annoyance

Executive Summary

Issues of deceptive content, privacy, and safety continue to plague social media. In this report, we analyze the data from our fifth annual “US Digital Trust Survey" to evaluate how US social media users feel about nine major social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube—and reveal the extent to which trust affects usage and attitudes toward advertising.


  1. How concerned are US social media users about privacy, safety, and deceptive content in social media—and how do their attitudes affect their willingness to engage with advertising there?
  2. Which social platforms rank highest in our five pillars of digital trust—Security, Legitimacy, Community, Ad Relevance, and Ad Experience—and which ones are losing trust among social media users?
  3. How has social media users’ trust in social platforms changed versus last year?

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? We surveyed 1,730 US social media users on the factors that most affect their trust in social platforms and how those factors impact their decision to engage with ads or sponsored content there.

KEY STAT: More than half (52%) of US adult social media users said that whether a platform protects their privacy and data is extremely impactful on their decision to interact with the ads or sponsored content they see there.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Key Points
  3. Why Digital Trust Is Important for Social Media
  4. The 2021 Leaders in Digital Trust
  5. Security
  1. Legitimacy
  2. Community
  3. Ad Relevance
  4. Ad Experience
  5. Demographics
  1. Methodology
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

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Audrey Schomer, and Debra Aho Williamson


Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Ona Koehler
Senior Director, Benchmarking
Na Li
Director, Primary Research
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Jennifer Pearson
VP, Research

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