Facebook Users Undeterred by Privacy Scandal

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In the aftermath of the Facebook scandal, there have been some cries of outrage, with several users claiming that they will be deleting their accounts. Reuters recently polled users to see just how much impact the scandal has had on the social media giant.

The results show that Facebook has suffered little consequence. The Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal erupted on 16 March, prompting the hashtag #deletefacebook. Yet the number of monthly users continued to grow as the first quarter came to a close, with a recorded 241 million users in the United States and Canada as of 31 March.

The poll, conducted online on 26–30 April, asked several questions about frequency of use and steps that users take to protect their privacy across social media sites from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram.

Reuters found that 22% of the users polled confessed that they use Facebook more. Only 16% reported that they use the site less, while 43% said that they have not changed their frequency of use. That begs the question: how frequently are users accessing the Facebook site?

Of the 2,194 users polled in the sample, 44% visit the site continuously throughout the day, and another 20% access Facebook once a day. Only 13% do not use Facebook services.  

Cambridge Alaytica has closed its offices and Mark Zuckerberg spent two days testifying before Congress because of the outraged at what they saw as the irresponsible use of personal data. 

Reuters reported that Facebook executives "have apologized for the data-harvesting, pledged to investigate others who collected Facebook user data and reduced the amount of data available to similar app developers now." Yet the poll suggests that the users themselves are uninvested in protecting their privacy. 

One question the poll sought to answer was whether users really even care about who has access to their data. A large majority (69%) of respondents said that they know how to change their privacy settings, yet 56% of those surveyed have not made any changes to their privacy settings on the Facebook platform.

Some factors have resulted in users sharing less content on social media, but 54% said that privacy concerns were not a reason impacting the change. Only 20% were sharing less because of negative news stories in the media. 12% said their behaviors were impacted by the idea that news feeds seemed biased toward conservative viewpoints while 14% felt that news feeds were biased toward liberal viewpoints.

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