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Survey says people just don’t trust companies as much as they used to

Survey says people just don’t trust companies as much as they used to
[Photo: Ben White/Unsplash]

Grab a box of tissues, because this story might make you tear up–if you’re a multinational corporation doing business in California, that is. Turns out that people, or at least Californians, don’t think corporations have their best interests at heart.

Edeleman just released their 2018 Trust Barometer California Supplement and the annual statewide survey offers some telling insight into the mood of America’s most populous state on topics like technology, government, the economy, and the workplace. The survey reveals that like the rest of us, Californians have pretty mixed feelings about technology and the companies foisting it into our lives.

According to Edelman, people love tech, but not so much the companies. This is true even in Silicon Valley. More than two-thirds of Bay Area residents think the tech sector has been under-regulated. Respondents would like to see tech companies become more financially liable for data breaches (89% support). They’d also like the government to tax companies for moving their manufacturing overseas (82%) or replacing their workers with machines (66%). Another 66% want to reduce the number of skilled workers brought in from abroad (don’t tell President Trump).

While 62% of respondents trust the technology industry the most, just 37% of respondents trust social media companies–a 25 percentage point gap. Also, only 38% of respondents think technology has benefitted them personally. Edelman thinks this means the public could turn on techies. Underscoring that point: 79% of Californians believe tech companies have an obligation to speak out against policies that may hurt their employees or customers, yet 66% say the tech industry is reactive, rather than proactive and the companies aren’t taking the lead.

That said, it’s not all bad news: California residents want companies to lead, according to the survey. More than seven in 10 Californians believe the industry can and should advocate for societal good.

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