Thanks to the information that was revealed after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook users are getting more hip to the ins and outs of the company’s use of their personal information. And it turns out that according to the latest Pew Research Center study, one in four Americans has deleted the Facebook app from their phones. That’s a huge number of people, but considering the implications of keeping the app on the phone, it’s not altogether too surprising.
And while just one in four people deleted the app, the study found that 74 percent of U.S. adult users either deleted the app, changed privacy settings, or have taken a break. This included 54 percent of people who updated their privacy settings, and 42 percent of people who chose to stop using the app for “several weeks” or longer, according to the Daily Herald.
It’s hard to know what would have happened if the Cambridge Analytica scandal never was brought to the public’s attention. But likely, people would have continued to use Facebook, the app, and more, without ever finding out the true depths of the privacy invasions that were taking place on a daily basis. And it certainly appears that even the people who couldn’t walk away from Facebook were at least willing to take a second look at what permissions they gave the company when they signed up.
New Facebook survey from Pew
-74 percent of Americans who use Facebook have deleted it, taken a break, or changed privacy settings in the past year
-More than 1 in 4 Americans have deleted Facebook
— Hamza Shaban (@hshaban) September 5, 2018
An expert analyst from eMarketer, Debra Aho Williamson, explained the possible thought-process of Facebook users.
“It does show that consumers have a heightened awareness of privacy and how social media companies use their data. People are getting fed up with the idea that they may not have as much control as they think they do… There is an undercurrent of people feeling like they are not sure social media is positive for them and if it is a good use of their time.”
Williamson makes a good point, which is that Facebook users are re-evaluating their relationship with the platform, not just for privacy reasons but for personal wellness reasons. While the social media platform is an easy way to stay connected with pretty much everyone, the culture of over-sharing and projecting an image can prove to be detrimental.
— Dunya News (@DunyaNews) September 7, 2018
Even back in December 2017, Facebook admitted that the platform can leave people “feeling worse” after “passively consuming information,” detailed the Guardian. A former Facebook executive got into the nitty-gritty of what makes the platform so bad for people’s mental health.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.”