46% think Facebook is a fad

46% think Facebook is a fad

Summary: With Facebook expected to go public this week, one must wonder what Americans think about the hyped up company. A new poll on various Facebook topics shows that there is no general consensus.


Almost half of Americans believe Facebook is a passing fad. 46 percent believe it "will fade away as new things come along," 43 percent believe it "will be successful over the long term," and 11 percent don't know what to think.

The data comes from a CNBC poll of 1,004 U.S. adults. They were polled between May 3 and May 7 via landline and cell phone interviews, and the results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Here are the three points shared in relation to the above graph:

  • Investors are more optimistic than others about the company's long-term prospects. 48 percent think it will be successful in the long run compared with 42 percent of non-investors.
  • There's a sharp divide on this question among users and non-users of the site. Fifty-one percent of users see it as a long-term success versus just 35 percent among non-users.
  • Although they are generally more positive about the company, younger adults are no more apt than their older counterparts to expect Facebook's long-term success; 51 percent think it will fade.

On the flipside, a majority of those surveyed (51 percent) have a favorable impression of the company, while 23 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

Here are 10 other notable findings:

  • About half (51 percent) say Facebook stock would be a good investment to make while 31 percent say it would not be so good and 17 percent just aren't sure.
  • Among those who own stocks, bonds or mutual funds, 54 percent say Facebook would be a good investment, 34 percent say it would not. Active investors (38%) are more likely than other investors (30%) to say it wouldn't be a good investment.
  • Half of Americans (50 percent) say a Facebook valuation of nearly one hundred billion dollars - larger than Ford and Kraft but smaller than Google and Coca-Cola - would be too high. Among active investors, 62 percent say they think Facebook will be overvalued, 27 percent think it will be fairly priced and 5 percent believe it will be undervalued.
  • A majority (59%) of Facebook users do not trust the site with their personal information and have little or no faith in the company to protect their privacy. A slight minority (13%) trust the company completely or a lot.
  • About 8 in 10 Facebook users surveyed say they hardly ever (26%) or never (57%) click on online advertising or sponsored content when using the site.
  • Most (54%) say they would not feel safe purchasing goods and services on Facebook. Among the site's most frequent users, half say they would not feel safe making purchases through the site.
  • Just 18 percent of Americans have deep confidence in Zuckerberg's ability to run a large publicly traded company like Facebook, another 40 percent say they are "somewhat confident."
  • About a third of the public (36%) has a favorable impression of the Facebook founder, while 14 percent hold an unfavorable opinion and 20 percent say they've never heard of him or don't know how they feel. Among active investors, 42 percent have a mostly positive impression of Zuckerberg while 14 percent view him unfavorably.
  • The Social Network filmgoers have a more favorable impression of Zuckerberg than others (51% favorable compared to 31% among those who have not seen it).
  • More than 4 in 10 said Zuckerberg's age would have little impact on his leadership abilities. His age is actually seen more as an asset (21 percent help) than a liability (11 percent hurt).

Speaking of Zuckerberg, he turned 28 yesterday.

See also:

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • Just look at AOL

    15 years ago AOL practically was the internet to most people, just as Facebook is now. So it's understandable why so many people think it is just a fad.

    Now it doesn't HAVE to be a fad. If they are smart they will change with the times. But it's reasonable to question whether or not they will change with the times.
    Michael Kelly
    • Agreed. Though AOL could have still "been the internet"

      in the sense that Facebook is, if they would have moved with the times. though Time Warner buying them didn't help their chances all that much, either.
      William Farrel
  • the only reason facebook is still around

    is because it somehow curtailed spam. But that's changing since the investors demand $$$, facebook spam will be become more pervasive and facebook will fade away.
    Then the people will go to google+ where they trust the provider to do no evil!
    The Linux Geek
    • The ONLY shot Google+ has

      of getting people from FaceBook is if FaceBook shuts down entirely. According to a great many open source, FOSS, and Google Advocates, Geeks, and fanboys Google + was supposed to already be the #1 social network. Then again last year, the year before, the year before that, ect. was supposed to be the Year of Linux and we see how that has turned out.
  • Facebook is a fad

    It is a fad and it is following the same path AOL did... Facebook got lucky, the reason hey are so big is because MySpace We've kept breaking their site and having embedded music didn't help MySpace at all.
  • The Automobile is a fad too

    100+ years and counting.

    What will Facebook look like in 5 years? 10 years? who knows. but to dismiss it as a fad is premature. Google+ is a fad.
    Your Non Advocate
  • Don't know about a fad, but....

    Their advertising tools are horrendous, and that is their only source of income. I tried and tried and tried to get a decent looking ad and in the end I had to settle to what their tools would let me create and my money was wasted. None of my new customers this year saw any of my Facebook ads although 100% of them had accounts. Take that, and the fact that their profits are decreasing and I think this IPO is in real trouble and will follow the Groupon path to over hypeness.

    At some point, maybe the lazy, ignorant American public will wake up and understand how companies like Facebook and Google actually work by selling their privacy, and only then will something like Facebook fade into the distance like AOL did when people woke up and realized that AOL != The Internet.