One year after Cambridge Analytica—Facebook trust is down, but has use declined?

by | Apr 3, 2019 | Public Relations

Forty-four percent of social media users still have a negative opinion of Facebook because of the Cambridge Analytica data breach, according to a new survey from business news and how-to website The Manifest.

The distrust stems from the incident last March when news broke that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica acquired and used 50 million Facebook users’ personal data without their express permission. People became distrustful of Facebook afterwards, and Facebook has not gained back some users’ trust.

“Facebook really tried to give an image that this type of thing wasn’t happening, that their data was safe,” said Steve Pearson, CEO of online reputation company Friendemic, in a news release. “To see something like this come out, it was a blow to many consumers who were otherwise trusting.”

People view Facebook more negatively since the Cambridge Analytica data breach—but that doesn’t mean the scandal deterred people from using the platform.

One year after Cambridge Analytica—Facebook trust is down, but has use declined?

Despite those negative opinion, people still use Facebook

The scandal didn’t permanently affect people’s use of Facebook. Although people still view Facebook negatively, just 37 percent use Facebook less often than they did before the data breach.

“While they may say they have concerns, I don’t think it’s been enough for many of them to use Facebook less,” said Chad Richards, vice president of social media services at Firebelly Marketing, a social media marketing agency. “That ‘Quit Facebook’ movement lost steam.”

People are still upset with Facebook—but not enough to leave it. Some businesses, too, still value Facebook and use it as often as before the breach.

“We continue to use Facebook as frequently as we did before,” said Katharine Pebworth, a digital marketer at Alexander Advertising, in the release. “We haven’t seen a huge difference in our engagement rates and continue to incorporate Facebook into all our digital marketing campaigns and strategies.”

One year after Cambridge Analytica—Facebook trust is down, but has use declined?

Cambridge Analytica deterred more millennials than older generations

Older generations were less likely to decrease their Facebook use as a result of the scandal. Forty-one percent of millennials use Facebook less because of the data breach, compared to 37 percent of Generation Xers and 24 percent of baby boomers.

Older generations depend more on Facebook than younger generations, who use a variety of platforms.

“When [millennials] leave Facebook, they don’t fully lose the information and sense of belonging that they have on social media,” said Josh Krakauer, founder and CEO of social media marketing agency Sculpt, in the release. “It doesn’t feel like a lifeline was totally cut off for some of them, where it might for an older user.”

Read the full report here.

One year after Cambridge Analytica—Facebook trust is down, but has use declined?

The Manifest’s 2019 Consumer Social Media Survey included 521 people in the U.S. who use social media at least once per week.

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