To get a measure of how much trust people have in their fellow citizens, we asked people: “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” 41% of Americans said that most people can be trusted. This is much higher than the 32% of Americans who said that most people can be trusted, the last time Pew Internet asked this question in 2009.
Internet users tend to be more trusting than non-users: 46% of internet users said that “most people can be trusted.” This is significantly higher than non-internet users. Only 27% of them said that “most people can be trusted.”
There is a strong relationship between those demographic factors associated with not having access to the internet and social trust. Specifically, those with fewer years of formal education and those who are of a race other than White or Caucasian tend be less trusting of people in general (see Appendix C, Table C4, for the results of our regression analysis).
However, even when we control for demographic factors, we find that internet users are significantly more likely to trust most people. Controlling for demographic factors, internet users are more than twice as likely (2.14x) to think that most people can be trusted.
Facebook users are more trusting than other people.
Also, when we control for demographic factors and types of technology use, we find that there is a significant relationship between the use of SNS and trust, but only for those who use Facebook – not other SNS platforms. A Facebook user who uses the service multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other internet users, or three times (3.07x) more likely than a non-internet user, to feel that “most people can be trusted.”