By Daniel Lippman
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans trust technology heavyweights such as Apple, Google and Microsoft more than social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, according to a new poll.
Nearly half of 2,100 adults questioned in a Zogby Interactive survey said they trusted the big three technology firms "completely" or "a lot," compared to eight percent for Twitter and 13 percent for Facebook.
But all of the companies rated higher than traditional media.
John Zogby, the president and CEO of Zogby International, said big companies have had the time to build brand equity, while Facebook and Twitter do not have the corporate identity.
"They don't have the brand equity," he added in a telephone interview.
Young adults aged 18 to 29 had slightly higher trust levels in Facebook with 20 percent and Twitter with 15 percent compared to the levels of adults of all ages which were seven percent lower for both companies.
When asked how important online privacy was to consumers, Zogby said it was huge.
"I think to a great degree, its all about privacy," he explained.
Google has been criticized by some privacy regulators for its Street View cars which collected some private information from unencrypted WiFi networks while roving the streets taking photographs for its online mapping software.
Facebook recently changed its privacy policies to give users more control over how much information from users profiles is public following protests from some users and privacy watchdogs.
The traditional media received little sympathy from the public with only eight percent of all adults and six percent of young adults saying they trusted the media.