According to a recent poll conducted by Techpinions, a technology research group, 9% of a sample of 1,000 people surveyed said they had deleted their Facebook page in the wake of revelations that Cambridge Analytica used the personal data of 87 million people in its work for the Trump campaign.
This revelation, brought to the attention of the media by whistleblower Christopher Wylie (who promptly saw his own Facebook account deleted by the company shortly after the New York Times and the Observer published the initial exposes), ignited an international scandal about how Facebook collects, stores and utilizes the personal data of its users to target advertisements – a business that has transformed Facebook into perhaps the most profitable company of its size in the history of capitalism.
While Facebook insists it doesn’t “sell” data to advertisers, for years, the company allowed third party app developers nearly unfettered access to this data to build apps that could be integrated with the platform (Farmville, anyone?).
The scandal led to the hashtag #DeleteFacebook to trend on Twitter, and also inspired one of the co-founders of WhatsApp, a company that was bought out by Facebook in 2014 for the astronomical sum of $19 billion, to declare that “it’s time” to delete Facebook.
Techpinions told Business Insider that its sample was representative of the broader US population in terms of demographic representation.
To be sure, some of these people could be exaggerating or outright lying about deleting the app. But perhaps the most surprising finding of the study was the number of people who wanted Facebook to “go back to how it was” more than seven years ago, before the public offering that instantaneously transformed CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg into a multibillionaire and one of the richest men in the world. Two out of five people surveyed said they’d prefer Facebook go back to its roots.
As we pointed out earlier this week, Facebook user engagement was already starting to fall by the wayside and the company was already scrambling to figure out new methods for boosting its user engagement before it came under fire over the past month for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Cowen’s monthly social engagement survey found that time spent per day by users in the US fell modestly during Q1 – something Cowen’s analysts attributed to certain changes to the platform that have been made since 2017.
All of this goes to show that, while Zuckerberg may have made it through two days of Congressional hearings unscathed, the company has a long way to go to recover from the scandal – even after promising it would make changes to how it secures user data that would “significantly impact profitability going forward.”