A Majority of Americans Don't Know That Facebook Owns Instagram

Filed under Privacy Research on

And 45% Don't Know That Google Owns YouTube

In the wake of news about Cambridge Analytica obtaining the personal data Facebook kept on 50 million Americans, #DeleteFacebook went viral. And, as our recent survey revealed, about 60 percent of Americans plan to share less information with Facebook and nearly 40 percent are now more likely to delete their Facebook accounts. But there’s one big problem: a majority of Americans don’t know that Facebook also owns Instagram.

We surveyed 1,153 random U.S. adults (not just DuckDuckGo users), who collectively are demographically similar to the general population of U.S. adults. Surveys were taken on Mar 26th and 27th, 2018.

We found that 56.90 percent (± 2.86%) of respondents were unaware that Facebook owns Instagram.

Chart showing that most people didn't know that Facebook owns Instagram

And the problem isn’t just limited to Facebook/Instagram. We also found that almost half of the American population (44.67 ± 2.87%) did not know that Google owns YouTube.

Chart showing that almost half of respondents didn't know that Google owns YouTube

Why is this a problem? Case in point:

An Instagram post with an ironic announcement that the poster is moving away from Facebook

In reaction to #DeleteFacebook, we’ve seen many disengage with Facebook in favor of Instagram, seemingly without realizing that the same company would be handling their personal data.

Quite simply, people who are unaware of the corporate parent ownership of Instagram and YouTube cannot make informed privacy decisions about using them. Facebook and Google amass huge data profiles about people, and can each combine Instagram or YouTube data into these profiles, respectively, further enabling hyper-targeting on their ad platforms.

Add to that the troves of data they’re already collecting on you through their massive tracker networks lurking behind most of the sites you visit, and the question then becomes what don’t they know about you instead of what do they know.

Bottom line: if you want to disengage fully with Facebook, you also need to disengage with Instagram, and also block Facebook's web trackers.


These results are based on the polling of a random sample of 1,153 American adults (18+) on March 26th and 27th, 2018 via SurveyMonkey's Audience platform, which ensures the demographic make-up of respondents is representative of the U.S. population. Survey respondents were paid and a confidence level of 95% was used for calculating the values above.

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Dax the duck

Dax the duck

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A Majority of Americans Don't Know That Facebook Owns Instagram
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