Has Facebook’s largest shareholder and CEO become its greatest liability?
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Much of the country got its first impression of Mark Zuckerberg through Jesse Eisenberg’s unlikable portrayal of the Facebook founder in the 2010 biographical film The Social Network. With that kind of pop-cultural image, Zuckerberg was never going to have the generally warm reception of, say, Warren Buffet.
But since then, his public image has worsened. Zuckerberg’s net favorability is underwater at -14, finds a Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll of 1,276 U.S. adults between June 25 and 26.
Zuckerberg is the only Big Tech CEO with an underwater net favorability. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a +29 net favorability despite his routinely facing media scrutiny as well. And the highest big tech favorability scores went to Apple CEO Tim Cook (+41) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (+41).
This image problem follows years of controversy surrounding Zuckerberg’s inability to keep foreign-bought political ads from Facebook’s platform during the last U.S. election or moderate hate speech and misleading posts on the site. And because of the latter, he’s currently staring down a growing Facebook advertising boycott.
And the U.S. public is split on his company, with 49% viewing it favorably and 49% viewing it unfavorably. That’s subpar for Facebook, especially considering the average U.S. adult spends 37 minutes of their day on the platform. Meanwhile, more than 7 in 10 U.S. adults have a favorable view of Amazon (85%), Alphabet (76%), Microsoft (75%), and Apple (72%).
The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook have agreed to appear in a House antitrust hearing later this month as even some Republicans are joining Senator Elizabeth Warren in calls for the federal government to break tech giants up. And this summer the Justice Department is expected to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Google for its digital and search dominance.
But the greatest weapon that Amazon, Alphabet/Google, Microsoft and Apple might have in fighting off a government crackdown is the public’s adoration and enthusiasm for their products. That’s something Facebook won’t be able to lean on as much, in the scenario that Congress or the Justice Department comes after the Menlo Park social media giant.
*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 1,276 adults in the U.S. between June 25-26. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 4 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.
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