Study: 45% plan to use Facebook less amid Cambridge Analytica scandal
- Just 8% of internet users plan to stop using Facebook following the news of Cambridge Analytica’s abuse of personal data collected from the platform, according to a survey by securities firm Raymond James, MediaPost reports.
- Additionally, 19% said they would use Facebook “significantly less,” and 26% said they would use the platform “somewhat less” because of the controversy. When asked about their level of concern over Cambridge Analytica’s breach of Facebook data, 43% said they were “very concerned,” and 31% said they were “somewhat concerned.”
- In separate news, Playboy announced it is leaving Facebook and Mozilla released an add-on for its Firebox browser called Facebook Container that isolates a users’ Facebook identity from other web activity, a post on The Mozilla Blog announced. Users will be able to use Facebook normally, and Facebook can still send ads to users, but the new tool will make it more difficult for Facebook to use a user’s activity collected from the platform to send ads and targeted messages. However, the post says Facebook Container would not have prevented the collection of the type of data in the Cambridge Analytica incident.
Despite the trending #DeleteFacebook hashtag as well as a growing list of celebrities and companies deleting their profiles following the Cambridge Analytical scandal, the Raymond James survey shows that only a small portion of general Facebook users are leaving the platform. However, if people spend less time on Facebook — as the survey suggests 45% plan to do — there will be fewer opportunities for brands to get in front of an audience. Any impact might be short lived, though, once the data use issue fades from the news as Facebook and social media have become embedded in people’s daily lives, where they rely on the platforms to interact with friends, get news, share information and participate in civic and political activities, according to a Pew Research Center report.
In a sign that controversy continues to plague Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will reportedly make his first public testimony before U.S. lawmakers to address its use of people's data but the executive has rejected calls to appear before a U.K. Parliament Committee to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica data breach and will instead likely send chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer or chief product officer Chris Cox, per a Venture Beat report. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has also confirmed reports that it is investigating the social media network over privacy concerns, according to Venture Beat.
So far, there hasn't been a rash of big brands defecting the platform over the issue, likely in recognition of the fact that its reach is so big. Mozilla was one of the first major companies to pull ads from Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica incident — the list also includes Sonos — saying that the platform needed to do more to strengthen its default privacy settings for third-party apps. In announcing its new Facebook Container add-on, Mozilla said the tool is based on technology that the company had been developing but that the introduction was accelerated recently in response to a “growing demand for tools that help manage privacy and security.”