Facebook, the Whistleblower Claims and the Outage – October 13, 2021

THIS SURVEY EXPLORES CANADIANS’ AND AMERICANS’ OPINIONS ON FACEBOOK AND THE RECENT WHISTLEBLOWER CLAIMS AND OUTAGE. 

Recently, a former Facebook employee leaked some confidential Facebook documents to the media and testified in a senate hearing that Facebook is aware of the negative impacts of its platforms, including the threat to democracy and the negative impacts on the mental health of young people who use their platforms. In an unrelated incident, on October 4, all the Facebook companies experienced a service outage for over 6 hours that affected Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.  

This edition of our North American Tracker explores Canadians’ and Americans’ perspectives on the Facebook conglomerate, these recent high-profile incidents and more.  

This survey is conducted in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and published in the Canadian Press. This series of surveys is available on Leger’s website.

Would you like to be the first to receive these results? Subscribe to our newsletter now.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE.


Canadians’ and Americans’ Perspectives on Facebook

  • Canadians and Americans are divided on whether Facebook has a positive or negative impact on their quality of life.
    • Positive impact: 25% of Canadians, 24% of Americans
    • Negative impact: 29% of Canadians, 27% of Americans
    • No impact: 46% of Canadians, 49% of Americans
  • More than three-in-five Canadians and Americans think Facebook: 
    • can be harmful to children and teenagers who use it (87% of Canadians, 82% of Americans) 
    • contributes to misinformation and the sharing of fake news (87% of Canadians, 79% of Americans) 
    • amplifies hate speech and gives radicalized individuals a platform (78% of Canadians, 65% of Americans) 
    • negatively impacts individuals’ mental health (72% of Canadians, 62% of Americans) 
  • 77% of Canadians and 75% of Americans say Facebook allows them to stay connected with their loved ones.
Canadians' and Americans' opinions on Facebook

Regulating Facebook

  • 58% of Canadians and 52% of Americans think that the Facebook conglomerate (which also includes Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp) should be either regulated by the government, broken up to ensure healthy competition or both

The Facebook Whistleblower’s Claims

  • 64% of Canadians and 59% of Americans think that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s claims about the company are true
64% of Canadians and 59% of Americans think that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s claims about the company are true. 

METHODOLOGY

This web survey was conducted from October 8 to October 10, 2021 with 1,545 Canadians and 1,000 Americans, 18 years of age or older, randomly recruited from LEO’s online panel.

For comparison, a probability sample of 1,545 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.49%, 19 times out of 20, while a probability sample of 1,000 would have a margin of error of ±3.09%, 19 times out of 20. 

THIS REPORT CONTAINS THE RESULTS FOR THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND MORE!

  • Do you have a positive or negative opinion of the following platforms?
  • In general, do you think Facebook has a positive or negative impact on your quality of life?
  • On Monday, October 4, all of the Facebook companies experienced a service outage for over 6 hours that affected Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Did this outage have a positive or negative impact on you personally?
  • Facebook is currently a private company that also owns Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Do you think that Facebook should be regulated by government to ensure their interactions with users adhere to certain standards and that this conglomerate should be broken up to ensure healthy competition?
  • When you think about the company Facebook (which also includes Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp), to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
Go back to the publications