The IRS and NSA More Trustworthy Than Facebook?

privacy_eyeFacebook has faced a lot of heat for its privacy practices lately, drawing an inquiry last week from the Federal Trade Commission regarding the language in its data usage policies. That, combined with an overall sense of unease about how Facebook is truly using its user’s data, has led to a very low public opinion about how the company is handling issues of privacy, according to a recent Reason-Rupe poll.

The study, which polled 1,013 adults between September 4 and 8, found that 61 percent of those surveyed did not trust Facebook “at all” when it came to issues of privacy and security, while only 45 percent of responders said that about the IRS and only 40 percent said that about the NSA, the government organization behind a recently revealed Internet spying operation.

The fact that people say they don’t trust Facebook shouldn’t come as a surprise. The site has found itself embroiled in several privacy-related messes in recent months, most notably the recent controversy surrounding its policy regarding how users’ names and likenesses are used in advertising. However, the site also suffers somewhat in this study by the simple fact that their brand name is extremely recognizable. If the allegations about the NSA’s PRISM spy program are true, then they have done far worse things for Internet privacy than Facebook ever has. But a large bureaucratic organization like the NSA just isn’t as easy (or fun) to paint as a privacy villain as Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook empire.