Over a third of Facebook users don’t trust the tech giant to look after their money, but over half believe that Libra, the company’s proposed digital currency, could help overcome privacy concerns on Instagram and WhatsApp, according to a new study by remittance firm MoneyTransfers that polled 2000 US-based Facebook users.
“This could be a breakthrough for Facebook, as people actually trust WhatsApp and Instagram,” said MoneyTransfers spokesman Artiom Pucinskij, in an interview with Decrypt.
The research focuses on two things: first, the number of people who trust Facebook to responsibly manage Libra. Over a third of the study’s respondents (33.75 percent) said they were “unlikely” to trust it, while 35.4 percent said they were “neutral” toward the project. Their concerns focused heavily on privacy, technology, and user experience.
Curiously, users’ concerns were somewhat allayed when it came to Facebook subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram. Over half (51 percent) of respondents said they would “trust other Facebook services such as WhatsApp & Instagram, if they were to utilise cryptocurrencies for payments,” though it’s worth noting that they’re referring to cryptocurrencies in general rather than Libra.
Interestingly, the very concept of “crypto” appears to have allayed some users’ fears. Even on the flagship Facebook platform, around 47 percent of respondents believe that various “crypto” elements would render the Libra project more trustworthy. Whether or not Libra indeed is a cryptocurrency, it seems the buzzword alone had enough of an effect.
As Pucinskij points out, “one of the core features of Libra is to integrate is with Whatsapp/Instagram,” making these two products vital to the project’s ongoing attempts to cultivate user trust.
The study does little, however, to push back against regulatory concerns. Since its announcement in June, the project has faced backlash from lawmakers and regulators worldwide, many of whom view it as an affront to economic sovereignty. And just yesterday, private concerns among Libra Association’s payments partners—including Stripe, Visa and PayPal—were aired to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.
From the point of view of users, however, Libra’s embrace of “crypto” terminology appears to be paying off.