UK consumers are more likely to stop using Facebook’s products and services than Huawei’s, according to a survey conducted by open-source communications software provider Open-Xchange.

The survey of 2,000 UK consumers aged 16 and over follows sustained negative publicity for the US and Chinese tech giants over the past one to two years.

Facebook has been rocked by a number of privacy scandals, notably the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which Facebook users had their data harvested without their consent for targeted political ads.

Meanwhile, Huawei has been accused of building security vulnerabilities into its network hardware for surveillance purposes, at the behest of the Chinese state. Huawei strongly denies any wrongdoing.

But the geopolitical tensions appear to have had little effect on UK consumer’s perceptions of the phone maker, with just 11% expressing a desire to stop using their products or services.

Facebook fares less well, with more than 32% responding that they were open to shunning the social network. Facebook-owned services, which include Instagram and WhatsApp, proved more resilient, with just 14% saying they’d be prepared to stop using them.

The survey also found that 63% of UK consumers do not believe Facebook respects their privacy rights. This suggests that a sizeable chunk of consumers are not put off by Facebook’s privacy flaws despite being aware of them.

Consumer desire for more trustworthy platforms

Google and Apple appear to be too important for most Brits to ditch, with just 10% and 11% looking to stop using their products and services, respectively.

The survey highlights a pattern of distrust for big tech platforms – largely in the way they handle personal data – but a lack of alternative options to switch to.

Some 87% of consumers said that they would switch to a more trustworthy provider if one were to emerge.

Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange, said: “Today’s biggest privacy risks arguably come from the big messaging platform providers. These businesses are essentially utilities that we rely upon for personal and business communications; yet for a huge proportion of us, trust in these firms is at an all-time low.

“With such a significant chunk of the population distrusting chat applications in particular, a new approach to instant messaging is needed. That’s why Open-Xchange will launch OX COI Messenger a secure, federated, permission-less chat ecosystem that lies within the email IMAP infrastructure and will give users the power to avoid lock-in. It will also allow providers to deliver secure internet services with a great user experience that respect privacy and generate superior margins.”


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