The research, carried out by Databoxer among 1,000 UK consumers, shows brands do not fare much better; only 33% of those surveyed said they trust the businesses from which they buy products.
In fact, most people trust their hairdresser - on 39% - more than those whose job it is to handle and process personal information.
This attitude towards social media companies is fairly consistent across all age groups, but there is a ray of hope in that younger people, aged 16-25, trust brands and social media companies more than older generations do.
Databoxer co-founder Tim Haynes said: "With the misuse of data occupying much of the news, consumers are rightly worried about the way organisations use their information. Brands now have a serious job on their hands to ease customer fears over unethical data use.
"Traditionally, brands have not been particularly open with customers on how they're using personal data, usually stating that they're using it to 'improve customer understanding' or 'deliver a personalised experience'. That lack of clarity won't wash with consumers for much longer - especially under GDPR."
Haynes continued: "Thanks to GDPR, the days of needing to 'opt out' of marketing emails are numbered, with the default shifting to 'opt in' instead. Yet, our research has shown that brands are pushing it worryingly close to the May 25 deadline to get those permissions - just half of consumers recall seeing an email from brands asking for permission to continue contacting them."