Despite crisis, 69% of Facebook users will keep their accounts

by | Apr 16, 2018 | Public Relations

The Cambridge Analytica scandal created a huge trust crisis for Facebook—but it looks like the collateral damage will be minimal when it comes to user support. In a new online pollof over 3000 members conducted April 4th through 8th by survey firm tellwut.

The research found that of the 83 percent of past and present Facebook account holders, 69 percent had no interest in closing their Facebook account as a result of the recent privacy breach revelations surrounding Cambridge Analytica’s access to Facebook account holders’ data, while 23 percent were thinking about closing their Facebook account, 3 percent said that they had closed their account as a result of the recent allegations and 5 percent said they closed their account for other reasons.

Demographic analysis found that 70 percent of Americans and 67 percent of Canadians had no plans to close their account; females were far more likely to keep their account open at 71 percent versus males at 62 percent, and in the 18-34 age group, 5 percent had already closed their account because of recent privacy issues vs. only 2 percent of the 50+ crowd.

When the story broke about Cambridge Analytica’s alleged harvesting of 50 million Facebook user’s data—a number that has since grown to 87 million—discussion about the potential swaying of public opinion began to swirl. Tellwut further canvassed its community to see what opinions they had on this stormy situation.

An article posted March 22 by Avery Hartman for Business Insiders.com lists categories of information that could have been obtained by Cambridge Analytica. The top 10 areas that tellwut respondents had the greatest concerns, regarding privacy breach in order of unease, were:

  • Location
  • About me
  • Photos & photo video tags
  • Birth date
  • Relationship and relationship details
  • Online Presence
  • Hometown
  • Work history
  • Websites
  • Checkins

Other privacy concerns

Members were asked if they felt they may have been swayed to vote differently based on ads, blogs, etc. they saw on social media. Seventy-three percent of Americans said “no,” they weren’t affected, 12 percent thought “yes” and 15 percent were undecided.

When asked if they felt other people could have been swayed, 49 percent of Americans said “yes,” 24 percent said “no” and 27 percent were undecided. When asked specifically if they believed fake news impacts voting results, 64 percent of Americans said “yes,” 14 percent said “no” and 22 percent were undecided. Clearly, people have far more faith in their own ability to decipher reality than they have in their fellow Americans’.

Survey respondents’ comments

Tellwutters have the opportunity to provide their opinion on survey topics. Below are a few comments voiced by tellwut members with respect to this survey:

  • J_M says: “I have never thought what I do or say on Facebook was truly private so I am not concerned. I don’t have any Facebook friends that are not smart enough to make their own decisions about their political ideas. This is a lot of hot air that wants to assume we are all stupid and would believe anything just because it was written and posted on Facebook.”
  • Suzaloo says: “I’m more concerned that because I’m now another decade older, I’m being targeted with senior dating ads, glowing reviews of retirement residences and funeral pre-planning. It feels like I need to become some sort of geriatric guerilla and fight back.”
  • 97B40 says: “If any social media access is FREE then have you ever wondered how they make money? Well, they make money be selling your information, where you live, what your preferences are, what you think, who are your contacts, what you buy and where. So you are their product. They track everything you do online!”
  • K_W says: “I never have written anything on my Facebook account that I didn’t want anyone else to know. It’s creepy to me to know that security has been breached, but it’s not something that I’m afraid of or ashamed for anyone else to know.”
  • tamster1764 says: “I think it is a risk you take on any social media. Now if it was information like banking, yearly income, taxes, home address or phone number then I would be concerned. I never post anything on social media that I would be concerned may get in the wrong hands.”

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter