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Californians trust tech industry but not social media: survey

Californians trust the tech industry more than any other — yet they think it needs to be regulated, and they blame social media for fake news, a new survey says.

The annual trust barometer by marketing consultancy firm Edelman shows that Golden State residents consider social media companies to be in a different category from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung: 62 percent of Californians trust the tech industry, while only 37 percent trust social media companies.

In the Bay Area, home to Facebook and Twitter, only 35 percent of residents trust social media companies. It is the least trusted industry by residents of this region, according to Edelman’s survey, which was released Tuesday.

Bay Area residents’ mixed feelings about tech are reflected in other numbers in the barometer: 62 percent of Bay Area residents say “the tech industry makes the wealthy even wealthier, but doesn’t really help the rest of California,” according to the survey.

In addition, 67 percent of Bay Area residents think tech needs more regulation. Bay Area residents think: Tech companies should be more financially liable for data breaches (89 percent); companies that move manufacturing overseas should be taxed (82 percent); companies that replace workers with machines should be taxed (66 percent); companies should reduce the number of skilled workers from abroad (66 percent); and that tech monopolies should be prevented (56 percent).

“In the battle to protect its license to innovate around the world, the industry must first deal with perception at home,” said Kristine Boyden, president of Edelman’s western region, in a statement.

The regulation question has been coming up more often lately, amid a backlash against tech over issues that include fake news, extremist content, sexual harassment, tax avoidance and a gender pay gap.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose…

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