New Poll Suggests Americans Are Still Concerned About Espionage in Chinese-owned Social Media Apps TikTok & WeChat

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that popular Chinese social media apps TikTok and WeChat would be banned from US App Stores. Additionally, WeChat faces other restrictions including a ban on transactions and internet hosting, which effectively make it unusable within the US.  

Over the weekend, TikTok made a deal with Oracle and Walmart that was approved by the Trump Administration, allowing them to continue their US operations and remain in US app stores. A federal judge blocked the WeChat ban, but the future of Tencent’s app is yet to be determined. 

TapResearch polled adults across the US to see how the general public felt about the security of foreign-owned apps, such as TikTok and WeChat immediately after the announcement on Friday. We surveyed 1,001 people ages 18-64 who live in the United States in 2 polls, one about WeChat (full results here) and one about TikTok (full results here). We previously polled users about TikTok on August 7, 2020, and you can read about those results here.

Our findings show that many people still support banning apps developed by foreign companies. In our August poll, only 30% of respondents answered that we should not ban any apps. The most recent data remains relatively constant with 34% of respondents saying we should not ban any apps and most respondents indicating that the US should either ban all foreign apps or at least apps from nations with an interest in spying on Americans. 

Should the US ban all apps developed in foreign nations?

Yes, only US-owned social media apps should be allowed for national security reasons (32%)

We should only ban apps from nations who have an interest in spying on Americans, such as Russia, China, etc. (35%)

No, we should not ban any apps (33%)

Similar to our previous poll, we asked if the respondents agreed with President Trump’s executive order banning TikTok in the US. While the largest segment of respondents (40%) indicated that they agree because the Chinese government is using TikTok to spy on Americans, this data is divided across political lines. Of respondents who plan to vote for Donald Trump in November, 70% agree with the executive order because “the Chinese government is using TikTok to spy on Americans”. Of respondents who indicated that they would be voting for Joe Biden, only 28% agreed with banning TikTok and 42% disagreed because “US-owned social media companies are also not secure”

When asked if the Trump Administration alone has the authority to ban an app like WeChat, the data suggests that most people believe the US government has the authority to ban an app, but the respondents are divided about if congressional approval is necessary. Again, this data suggests that the divide is down political lines. Of the respondents who plan to vote for Donald Trump, 66% say that an executive order alone is enough to ban WeChat from the app store, while 55% of respondents who plan to vote for Joe Biden say that congressional approval is necessary.

All in all, our poll suggests that many Americans continue to be concerned about foreign-owned social media apps using their technology for espionage. Our previous research on TikTok is consistent with these new findings as well as the latest poll into public opinion on banning WeChat. While Oracle and Walmart’s partnership with TikTok prevented a ban in the US, WeChat’s future is still uncertain. Our findings suggest that many people are concerned about foreign espionage through WeChat, but approval of an outright ban is divided across political lines.

About the Poll

TapResearch conducted this survey across its network of random mobile devices. The two polls were conducted on September 18, 2020, with 1,001 respondents each. 

If you’re a mobile marketer or decision-maker and would like to run a similar poll across the TapResearch mobile sample network please contact Michael Sprague at michael@tapresearch.com.

Poll Suggests Using Foreign-Owned Social Media Apps for Espionage is a Concern for US Adults

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order giving the popular social media app TikTok an ultimatum: be acquired by a US company or risk being banned from the US. 

While there have been other foreign apps with potential national security issues in the past, none have been as popular or garnered as much media coverage as TikTok. The WSJ recently reported that TikTok tracked user data in a way that was banned by Google but ended the practice in November 2019. Although there were concerns that the collected user data could be used by the Chinese government for “blackmail and espionage,” TikTok recently released a statement contesting these accusations, saying:

“We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request. In fact, we make our moderation guidelines and algorithm source code available in our Transparency Center, which is a level of accountability no peer company has committed to. We even expressed our willingness to pursue a full sale of the US business to an American company.” 

TapResearch polled adults across the US to see how the general public felt about the security of foreign-owned apps, such as TikTok. We surveyed 1,003 people ages 18-64 who live in the United States and the full results of this poll can be found here.

Our findings show that many people support banning apps developed by foreign companies, with 40% of respondents indicating that the US should ban all apps from countries that have an interest in spying on Americans and another 30% of respondents saying that the US should ban all foreign social media apps.

“Should the US ban all apps developed in foreign nations?”

Yes, only US-owned social media apps should be allowed for national security reasons (30%)

We should only ban apps from nations who have an interest in spying on Americans, such as Russia, China, etc. (40%)

No, we should not ban any apps (30%)

When the data is broken down by age group, there’s a trend towards more aggressive action by older adults compared to the young adult population. Among 18 to 20-year-olds, 35% of respondents said we should not ban any apps from the US app store, compared to only 18% of adults aged 55 to 64. 

While many respondents supported banning foreign-owned apps for national security reasons, the majority (77%) conceded that even US-based social media companies can be infiltrated by foreign governments to spy on Americans. 

Finally, we asked if the respondents agreed with President Trump’s executive order banning TikTok in the US. While the largest segment of respondents (31%) indicated that they agree because the Chinese government is using TikTok to spy on Americans, this data is divided across political lines. Respondents who indicated that they were conservative were more likely to agree with the President’s order, compared to the liberal groups, where a larger proportion did not agree with the executive order.

In the slightly and very liberal groups, 37% and 39% of respondents, respectively, said “No [I do not agree], US-owned social media companies are also not secure”, compared to 16% of the very conservative group. In the very conservative group, 71% of respondents agreed with the order banning TikTok either because the app was used by the Chinese government to spy on Americans or because it will put pressure on Microsoft to acquire TikTok’s US business. 

All in all, our poll suggests that many Americans are concerned about foreign-owned social media apps using their technology for espionage. The example of TikTok, however, shows that although being spied on is a concern, President Trump’s response is not overwhelmingly popular and opinion varies across the political spectrum.

About the Poll

TapResearch conducted this survey across its network of random mobile devices. The poll was conducted on August 7, 2020, with 1,003 respondents. 

If you’re a mobile marketer or decision maker and would like to run a similar poll across the TapResearch mobile sample network please contact Michael Sprague at michael@tapresearch.com.

Will rewarded incentives help save opt-in ad tracking? New research suggests no

Written and Researched by: Lily Crawford, Brian Larson, David Nebenzahl

As we inch closer to the release date for iOS 14 there has been loads of speculation on how this will affect the advertising ecosystem. For an industry, the loss of IDFA may have dire consequences for ad targeting and attribution, including significant expected CPM decline. There is little doubt in many people’s minds that Google is not far behind with a similar announcement for GAID’s. 

What does this all mean? It’s a good question, and many of us are still guessing at what the fallout will look like. During an online webinar in July, Beeswax CEO Ari Paparo referred to it as the “IDFA Apocalypse”.

In a previous survey on IDFA we presented responses from iOS users asked if they would select “Allow Tracking” when presented with the proposed Apple notification. According to our research, 63% of people said they were unlikely or extremely unlikely to allow tracking.

Some companies have suggested that they would offer rewards in order to have users opt-in and “Allow Tracking”. Apple could provide some flexibility to developers which may increase the number of users who would opt-in, such as different language in the message or the ability to reward users. There is still no clarity from Apple if users can even be incentivized with a direct or indirect message to opt-in to ad tracking, but assuming it’s possible, would these incentives be enough to change users’ minds? We polled 1200 mobile Free to Play users, ages 18-54, in the US to find out. You can see the full results of our research here.

We found similar results to our previous IDFA research (full results here), with 85% of those surveyed saying that they would not allow tracking when asked to “Allow Tracking.” Next, we asked if an incentive, such as “50 Gems to Allow Tracking” would change the result. 

Our research found that even with this incentive, 67% of respondents would still “Ask App Not to Track”. Although some respondents changed their minds, the survey suggests that the majority of users may still opt-out of ad tracking.

When asked about ad tracking more broadly, the largest segment of respondents did not answer favorably. Any other similar ideas to incentivize users to opt-in will have to take into consideration this negative sentiment towards IDFA. The research suggests that un-rewarded consent may likely have low opt-in and rewarded consent may not significantly increase opt-in. In the end, publishers and developers will need to diversify their methods of monetization and user acquisition. 

About the poll:

TapResearch conducted this survey across their network of random mobile devices. The poll was conducted on August 5, 2020 with 1,201 respondents. Each respondent was a verified mobile user.

If you’re a mobile marketer or decision maker and would like to run a similar poll across the TapResearch mobile sample network please contact Michael Sprague at michael@tapresearch.com

Poll Shows Distrust in Vaccines Could Lead to Low Adoption of COVID-19 Vaccine

In every major media announcement about COVID-19, developing a vaccine is lauded as the key to return daily life back to normal. Researchers around the world are working around the clock to develop a vaccine in record time. 

One week ago, Moderna became the first US-based pharmaceutical company to have a successful Phase 1 vaccine trial. After a limited test with 45 participants, this experimental vaccine was shown to generate an immune response, and a final study with 30,000 participants will start at the end of the month. These early results are promising and if the next stages of the vaccine trials continue to show an effective immune response with no adverse effects, experts predict that this vaccine could be mass-produced in early 2021. 

On Tuesday, the New York Times released The Vaccine Trust Problem as part of their Daily podcast series. Jan Hoffman, the Times health reporter, reports that “I heard more and more from people who were beginning to say, you know, I get all my vaccines, I’m up-to-date — I will not take this one. These are pro-science, pro-vaccine people who are cringing and wanting to avoid this vaccine. And I thought, we have a problem.”

In this podcast, the Times is suggesting that a significant portion of the US population may not go get a vaccine, even if it’s widely available. Assuming a successful vaccine is developed, the question then becomes: How can we expect to go back to our expected normal way of life if adoption is not widespread? 

Wondering this ourselves, TapResearch ran a quick poll of adults across the US on July 21, 2020, to see how they felt about the progress of the COVID-19 vaccine trials. We surveyed 1,040 people ages 18-64 who live in the United States. The full results of this poll can be found here.

Our results were similar to the findings of the research referenced by the Times. The data suggests that a significant segment of the population would not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine if one became available. Of the 1,040 respondents,  528 responded “Yes”, 266 responded “No”, and 246 responded “maybe” when asked if they planned to receive the vaccine. These results did not have any correlation to respondent age but were moderately correlated with education level. The data suggests that those with bachelor’s degrees or other advanced degrees would be more likely than other groups to plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine if it becomes available. 

Another interesting finding was that younger respondents would rather get Covid-19 instead of getting the vaccine and avoiding contracting the virus itself. 49% of respondents ages 25-34 would choose to get the virus compared to only 27% of those aged 55-64.

While early vaccine trials from around the world show promising results, our research supports claims by reporters that a significant portion of the US population may not plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Without widespread vaccination, it’s hard to pin our hopes of a “normal” life on the mass production of a successful vaccine alone.

About the Poll

TapResearch conducted this survey across its network of random mobile devices. The poll was conducted on July 22, 2020, with 1,040 respondents. 

If you’re a mobile marketer or decision-maker and would like to run a similar poll across the TapResearch mobile sample network please contact Michael Sprague at michael@tapresearch.com.