Nearly 76% of Facebook Users Find BP Irresponsible or Criminal

These survey results are being released in conjunction with the CitizenGulf events held on Wednesday, August 25 this week. The benefit meet-ups seek to help fishing families affected by the oil spill with education programs. Register today.


As part of its efforts to sway American opinion about its responsible approach towards the Deep Horizon oil spill clean-up, BP engaged in a significant advertising campaign, with major online components including social media properties and search engine buys. Ogilvy 360 was brought on to help with the effort. So nearly three months later and four months after the spill how are those efforts working out for BP?

Not so well as a MyType survey reveals. Seventy five percent of all Facebook respondents thought BP was either very irresponsible or criminal in its actions.

The survey was conducted during the past week of 3,000 US Facebook respondents, normalized to the general US population.  Survey respondents were offered one open ended statement, “BP’s oil spill was…,” and offered four answers:

  • A technical malfunction that the company cannot be blamed for
  • An honest mistake
  • Very irresponsible
  • Criminal

When you look under the covers, the survey shows at best some mixed results that are very polarized by children, age, income and environmental. All of the results are statistically significant. Here’s an analysis:


Families were more likely to see BP as criminally responsible for the disaster than single adults. Fifty three percent of two children families thought BP was very irresponsible, while a whopping 29 percent thought the oil company was criminally at fault. Single adults were 56% leaning towards very irresponsible but only 17% thought the company was criminal.

One and thee children families had similar results as two kid families, but large families skewed the other way with 25% thinking BP was not to blame, and another 25% believing the company made an honest mistake.

The Older Are Less Forgiving


Older Facebook users were much less forgiving of BP than teenagers. No where was this more pronounced that those aged 40-49 years old, who did not believe BP was innocent. Fifty six percent of this demographic found BP very irresponsible and 23% said the company was criminal. Teens on the other hand felt differently, with 51% believing the company was very irresponsible, and only 8% criminal. Twenty three percent of teens thought BP made an honest mistake.


Generally speaking, wealthy people were more likely to let BP off the hook. Twenty one percent of those making greater than $200,000 felt BP had no blame, while only 9 percent thought the company was criminal in its actions. Those making less than $200,000 had an almost opposite point of view: Eleven percent thought the company had no blame while 20% thought the company was criminal in its actions. Both demographics had groups of greater than 55% who thought BP was very irresponsible.


Forty one percent of true environmentalists though BP was criminal in its actions, but more telling was the group who identify with green issues as very important — or green consumers. Twenty two percent thought BP was criminal in its actions, while another 60% thought the company was very irresponsible. Those who feel the environment is not very important had a 42% very irresponsible ratio, and only 5% criminal.

Variances in Race

There were great variances in race, particularly when in came to designating BP as criminal in its actions. Twenty four percent of hispanic respondents thought BP was criminal, compared to 19% of caucasian, 18% of African Americans, 12% of East Asians, and an astoundingly low 7% of Middle Easterners. This may be attributed to the heavy reliance of the Middle Eastern economies on oil production.

Psychology of Respondents

One of the cool things about MyType is its psychological profiles. While I just analyzed traditional demographic break-outs, MyType can show those inclined towards Power or Imagination. The respondents’ psychological profiles reveal intriguing insights into how personality shapes our perspective towards BP. 

“Those who highly value power, for instance, are nearly 5 times more likely than others to choose the “technical malfunction” answer, assigning absolutely no blame to BP,” said Tim Koelkebeck, founder and CEO of MyType.  “Intellectuals, too, are 36% more likely to choose either that answer or the “honest mistake” response.  But others are much less forgiving. 

“Aesthetes – those who like poetry, believe in the importance of art and “see beauty in things that others might not notice”, among other things – are roughly 40% more likely to hold BP criminally responsible.  And for whatever reason, procrastinators are a full 70% more likely to hold BP criminally responsible.”

You can contact MyType for the full survey results via email info [at]