Technology Data Protection

People aren't deleting Facebook after Cambridge Analytica scandal though trust is at a low


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

April 25, 2018 | 3 min read

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data protection scandal looks to have faded from the public consciousness, with a great majority of users saying they haven't considered deleting their account despite a deluge of #DeleteFacebook campaigns online.

Facebook Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg before congress

An online survey of 1,011 individuals, conducted for The Drum, found that 71% Facebook users are not considering deleting their accounts in light of the privacy scandal that showed how Cambridge Analytica had gained access to the information of over 80 million users using a simple quiz plugin.

However, 29% said they were considering deleting their profile - which can prove to be a tricky process.

The data indicated that age was a factor at play, with older respondents less likely to delete Facebook.

Despite an apparent show of faith from users, 63% said they now do not trust Facebook to handle their personal data, suggesting that the convenience offered by the site in connecting friends and family could be difficult to walk away from - even if general usage levels are in decline.

Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, said that the #DeleteFacebook movement hasn’t led to mass user defections.

“Younger users were already starting to leave even before the Cambridge Analytica revelations in March, and privacy concerns may lead some Gen Xers and baby boomers to reconsider their usage patterns," she said.

"It’s not likely that the current privacy debate will trigger a mass departure. And Facebook is so large that it would take a lot of user defections to make a difference.”

The company is expected to announce user figures later today (25 April) on its quarterly earnings call though analysts are not anticipating it will show a substantial loss of its 1.67 billion monthly users.

Despite any reputational damage incurred in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the reemergence of the #DeleteFacebook campaign, the company is expected to capture around 18% of worldwide digital ad spend in 2018.

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