Chinese smartphone maker Huawei is more trusted by the UK public than Facebook, a new survey suggests.
The Chinese firm has been at the centre of a geopolitical dispute between the United States and China, which has seen the firm accused of having links to the Chinese government which could be exploited to spy on the west.
Huawei has always denied the allegations but the presence of its equipment in the UK’s telecoms infrastructure remains up for the debate and trade sanctions placed on the firm by the US have cut its access to Google’s Android software.
Despite this, only 11% of those asked in a new survey by open source communications software firm Open-Xchange said they had a desire to stop using the firm’s products.
In contrast, 33% of people said they would like to stop using Facebook-owned services.
Almost two-thirds of the 2,000 people surveyed (63%) said they didn’t believe big messaging platforms, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp – which is also owned by the US company – respect the privacy rights of users.
In addition, 73% said their trust in such platforms had been eroded in the past two years.
In that time, Facebook has been at the centre of a number of data privacy scandals – including the Cambridge Analytica incident – and faced questioned over the influence of misinformation that spreads on the platform.
Open-Xchange chief executive Rafael Laguna said of the findings: “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.”
He said the company planned to release its open instant messaging app as an alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook that can be linked to a user’s email account, enabling them to transfer contacts and message history between different platforms.