In brief

  • A survey from Piplsay says Americans are wary of social media after the Twitter hack.
  • The hack saw celebrity and major brand accounts tweet a Bitcoin-related scam.
  • Twitter is looking into decentralization as a potential future evolution.

Last month’s high-profile Twitter hack might have only directly impacted the accounts of a small number of celebrities and major brands, as well as the few hapless souls who sent Bitcoin to the listed addresses in the hopes of a large bounty in return.

Still, a new survey conducted by Piplsay suggests that the wider impact of the hack has Americans further doubting centralized social media services such as Twitter, particularly ahead of this November’s presidential election.

Piplsay polled 20,290 online users across the United States and found that 60% of respondents said that they do not trust social media platforms to keep their data safe and private, while 56% of those polled said that they do not trust such platforms to ward off disinformation and political interference ahead of the election.

Social media has become so ingrained in our daily lives, but at least in the wake of the Twitter hack, some 38% of respondents said that they plan to rely less on social media for election-related news and information going forward.

In particular, the survey shows that women are more wary of social media than men following the Twitter hack, at 58% for women and 42% for men. And millennials have more faith in the platforms’ ability to combat disinformation than Gen Z, polling at 58% being “extremely confident” while only 42% of Gen Z respondents said the same.

Could decentralization be the key to restoring trust in social media and removing single points of failure from the equation? We could see Twitter become decentralized in the future, as CEO and noted Bitcoin enthusiast Jack Dorsey formed a group late last year to investigate and prototype ways to decentralize the social network.

Twitter’s recent launch of a new, more open API and a friendlier attitude towards third-party developers also has some seeing it as a first step towards that potential future, but any decentralized shift for the platform is likely still years off. 

As for the short term, especially with the election in sight, it sounds like Twitter has a lot of work to do to gain back users’ trust.