Facebook users have been paying attention…well, at least some of them have. After the big Cambridge Analytica debacle, a new study from the Pew Research Center shows that 42% of adults aged 18 and older are taking a break from Facebook; some of them for several weeks. “Delete Facebook,” then, seems to be something people are taking to heart.
There is no denying that there have been recent privacy issues with Facebook. For example, when people realized that those gimmicky psychographic tests we thought were just harmless fun were actually used to collect info about us, it rightly freaked us out. You might expect, then, that people would jump ship. And even if they’re not leaving Facebook, many are at least taking steps to protect themselves; the same study found that 54% of adults have updated their privacy settings post-scandal.
Facebook, too, has updated its own settings, but it has also told users that it cannot give them back all of the data that has been collected; specifically, the information collected via Facebook Pixel, which is a tiny piece of code that is embedded in other sites and used to target ads. Facebook claims that there is simply too much data.
Facebook Pixel aside, the fact that these privacy updates now make it easier for people to download the data that has been collected about them is encouraging. However, according to the Pew research, only about nine percent of all users have taken advantage of this.
When you look at all the other users, most people are finding it tough to divorce Facebook entirely. While 42% say they have taken a break from checking Facebook for several weeks or more, only 26% say they have deleted the Facebook app altogether. In total, some 74% of all Facebook users say they have taken at least some steps since news of the scandal surfaced. Older users, especially those aged 65 and over, are far less likely to have taken a break than younger adults. This demographic is also less likely to take the steps necessary to adjust their privacy settings.
Facebook has stated publicly that some of the changes it has made in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal will adversely affect business. In fact, those comments caused the tech giant’s stock to plummet. But it’s the right thing to do. And clearly, the people agree. Facebook needs to earn back the trust of its users, one privacy step at a time.