Majority Rethink Facebook Use Following Data Mining Revelation

Some Canadians are thinking of deleting their Facebook accounts and many others are planning on modifying their use of the social media platform after it was recently revealed that the company has been mining users’ data.

Seventy-three percent said they would be changing their Facebook habits, according to a survey conducted by Angus Reid Institute. Ten percent said they’d stop using Facebook altogether by either taking a break or deleting their accounts, reports CBC.

The company is facing a public relations catastrophe in response to the scandal, and its stock dropped 14 percent following the news. Thirty-eight per cent of Canadians surveyed said their opinion of the company has worsened over the last month.

The institute carried out two surveys. One took place between Feb. 28 and March 2 and included 1,501 Canadian adults. The second one occurred between March 21 and 22 and featured 1,509 Canadian adults. Both featured randomized samples.

The second survey occurred after the analytics firm Cambridge Analytica accumulated private information from over 50 million Facebook users in the United States in order to direct political ads towards them.

When asked by Angus Reid Institute whether they would change their Facebook habits, 41 percent of Canadians stated they would still use it but would modify their usage and/or change their privacy settings. Twenty-three percent said they would use Facebook less frequently.

Twenty-seven percent said the data-mining announcement would not alter their Facebook habits. Those who planned to delete their accounts or take a break from the platform had already started doing so, the survey revealed.

Twenty-six per cent of Canadians who used Facebook once a week or less reported they’d delete or suspend their accounts. Just five percent of those who used Facebook every day said they would take the same action.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued an apology over the incident with full-page ads in U.S. and U.K. newspapers. He wrote: “We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.” He added that “a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014. This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

He continued that the company has “already stopped apps like this from getting so much information. Now we’re limiting the data apps get when you sign in using Facebook.”

Zuckerberg promised that Facebook will investigate, ban and notify users about other apps that had access to equivalently large amounts of user data. The company also plans on reminding users of the apps they’ve given permission to access their data.

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