Facebook Users Still Faithful Amid Scandal

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Three-quarters of Facebook users have remained faithful to the platform despite the privacy scandals, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

According to the survey the social media website’s reputation among users seems to have been tarnished very little. The poll surveyed over 2,000 American Facebook users over the age of 18. Half of those polled decided not to change the way the used the social media site. Another quarter of the people said they used Facebook more.

Analyst Michael Pachter from Wedbush Securities said that Facebook is fortunate that the scandal circles around information that was used for political advertisements and not nefarious purposes, according to Reuters.

Pachter stated, “I have yet to read an article that says a single person has been harmed by the breach. Nobody’s outraged on a visceral level.”

The social media website’s recent privacy scandal made headlines when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica harvested the profile information of over 50 million Facebook accounts through a quiz posted by an academic claiming it was for research purposes.

Since then, the media has dragged Facebook through the mud for the mishandling of user data. Governments have also taken action against the social media site.

The United States and Canada have launched investigations, both statewide and national. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress and Parliament. Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office is backing the efforts of an American academic to obtain his personal information from SCL Group, including Cambridge Analytica.

Despite the scandal and the investigations user growth on Facebook does not seem to have been affected. Financial results in the first quarter show the number of monthly users in the U.S. and Canada rose to 241 million from 239 million in eight months.

The social media website has created new features and updates to privacy policies. The most recent feature is the “clear browsing history” on the social media site. This feature allows the user to see which websites and apps send data to Facebook when they are used. The user can delete this information from their account and turn off the ability to store in in association with the account moving forward, according to the social media website.

While it may seem that most users are not affected, there is a group of users who are taking action to protect their data, according to the poll.

User activity appears to be returning to normal, an Angus Reid Institute/Global News poll released in mid-March, looks quite different.

Social media expert Alex Hanna is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto told Global News that is seems like there has been a “real reckoning with Facebook.”

The Angus Reid poll revealed that three-quarters of Canadians would change the way they use Facebook as the scandal continues to unfold.

The Reuters/Ispsos poll also questioned Twitter and Instagram users. However, the poll revealed that Facebook users claimed they know how to protect their personal data on the site. Users of other social media platforms were not as confident about protecting their data.

Seventy-four percent of Facebook users claimed they were aware of their privacy settings and 78 percent said they knew how to change their settings.

By Jeanette Smith


Global News: 3 out of 4 Facebook users still active despite privacy scandal: Reuters/Ipsos

Image Courtesy of Thomas Hawk’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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