- Facebook users were angry after the enormous data breach and trust in the company has plummeted.
- Many have exacted revenge by deleting their account, and a study of 3,000 users in the US showed that they want Facebook punished in other ways.
- The Ponemon Institute found that they expect compensation and greater regulation after 87 million accounts were scraped for data by Cambridge Analytica.
- More honesty could help Facebook in the future.
There’s a simple reason why #DeleteFacebook was trending in the days after revelations about the massive Cambridge Analytica data breach – people were angry.
Mark Zuckerberg testified before US Congress that Facebook has not seen an material number of users delete their accounts as a result of the scandal – but a study by a US think-tank, which has tracked US Facebook users’ attitudes sicne 2011, reveals exactly how the public is souring on the social network.
As well as discovering plummeting trust levels, the Ponemon Institute’s survey of around 3,000 people found that the numbers of people demanding compensation from the company in the event of security losses has spiked, and users are warming to the idea of tougher regulation.
This graph shows a sharp increase in people expecting compensation for data loss following the Cambridge Analytica incident. Some 66% agreed that Facebook should cough up damages, compared with 44% last year.
- Ponemon Institute
And it’s not just compensation people are after. Facebook should also be hit with tougher regulation, users told Ponemon.
Zuckerberg has apologised repeatedly for the scandal. “I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said last month.
The Ponemon survey was clear about one way Facebook can help repair user trust – honesty.
People were particularly troubled by the fact that they were kept in the dark about the Cambridge Analytica breach when Facebook first discovered it in 2015.
Asked if Facebook has an “obligation to inform me if my personal information is lost or stolen,” 73% agreed. This compared to 48% prior to the data issue.
Interestingly, the study suggests a steeper drop-off in users than Zuckerberg acknowledged: 9% of those surveyed stopped using Facebook immediately after Christopher Wylie blew the whistle on 87 million accounts being scraped of information.
If this figure is reflected in the broader Facebook population, it would amount to a huge proportion of the social network – tens of millions of users – going cold turkey on the social network.
On Wednesday, Facebook will report its Q1 earnings, and the data it is obliged to reveal – and investors’ questions in the following conference call – may soon shed more light on what, if any, impact the Cambridge Analytica scandal has had on Facebook’s bottom line.