The week of March 19th, 2018 was a difficult one for Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm with ties to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, had access to about 50 million pieces of personal data belonging to Facebook users without their consent. This caused a huge hit to the Facebook stock and the company’s valuation.

In 2013, a researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz application which was installed and promoted on Facebook. The app was installed by 300,000 people who shared their personal data as well as their friend’s data. This meant that Kogan had access to all their private Facebook information. In 2014 Facebook further tightened their privacy policy and limited the amount of data third parties could access. In 2015, Facebook learned that the information Kogan gathered was shared with Cambridge Analytica which Facebook said went against their 2014 privacy policy update. Facebook demanded Kogan and Cambridge Analytica to delete all the acquired data which was then formally certified.

Top Social Media Authorities & Influencers Are Openly Attacking Facebook

Roger McNamee, a former mentor to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, told CNN that he addressed systemic privacy problems in Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg. “As their friend and mentor I went to them privately, and spent three months trying to persuade them”. McNamee then goes on to say that the major problem in this case was that Facebook knew of the issue but treated it as a business relation problem rather than a public relation matter. In other words, they belittled the problem and wasted valuable time before dealing with it. McNamee feels that this type of blunder can ultimately destroy Facebook.

Many social influencers and reputable social media authorities are suggesting that people should delete their Facebook account. Brian Acton, founder of WhatsApp tweeted “It is time. #deletefacebook”. The movement keeps gaining more public attention, urging more people to delete their Facebook account. It’s remarkable that these words are coming from Acton himself. Acton sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion in 2014. Acton stayed on but left Facebook on September 2017 to start a new secure messaging application named Signal.

Mark Zuckerberg, publically addressed the data breach problem on Facebook on March 21st. Zuckerberg admitted “It was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.” He then goes on to outline the decisions that have been made to address future privacy issues and data leaks. Make no mistake about it; this data breach has raised a lot of concerns about how Facebook secures and handles your personal data and has had a major impact on Facebook and how the world perceives it. This was clearly reflected in the $50 Billion market drop in its share price over a two day period.

How Will All This Really Impact Facebook and You?

An Angus Reid Institute survey taken on March 26, 2018 shows that 57% of Canadians use Facebook everyday. Nearly 75% of Canadian Facebook users say they will make at least some change to how they use platform in light of the recent  data breach scandal.

A survey by Angus Reid Institute indicates 73% of Canadian Facebook users say they will make changes, while 27% say it will be “business as usual.”

The survey also found that one in 10 say they plan to abandon the platform, at least temporarily.

What We Think Will Really Happen

What people say in a survey and what they actually do are very different things. We believe that for many people deleting Facebook is just not an option. And remember; it’s not just about deleting Facebook. For people to detach themselves completely from Facebook they would have to delete their Instagram and WhatsApp accounts as well, as they are both Facebook owned apps. Do you really think people are ready to do that? These are three of the most powerful means used by people to stay connected today and it’s no secret how impactful these channels have become. There is no mystery to the intrigue humans have with Facebook et al. Even old research shows that the more people feel connected to friends, family and a community, the less likely they are to feel depressed. (Turner, 1981)

We live in a time where connecting with friends and family has never been easier. Staying connected on social media has become indispensable for individuals and businesses all over the world. Facebook makes people feel like they are part of a community, even if it is only digitally. Social media has become so important that it has become a very important part of our everyday lives. Realistically, it is virtually impossible for most individuals and businesses to just unfriend Facebook. In today’s world, asking humans to delete their Facebook account because of a data breach is like telling people to stop driving because there is a chance they may get into a car accident.

So, in our opinion, for Facebook, they will lose a bit of their market valuation for some time and they will spend a lot of money and resources to protect your privacy moving forward.

For you, the individual, we think it will be a bump in the road for most. Many will be more careful with the information they share on their Facebook profiles and be more cautious in general with Facebook’s privacy settings as the Angus reid survey suggests. But that’s about it. While it may be safest to unfriend or delete your Facebook account, we don’t think that will be the answer or the outcome. Mark Zuckerberg once said that Facebook was launched to help people connect “with the people they want and share what they want”.

Bottom line, Facebook has become too powerful and indispensable for many.

About iRISEmedia | Social Media Agency | Toronto is a Toronto based social media marketing agency, specializing in social media management, digital marketing, online reputation management and online branding. Our team helps clients manage and grow their online presence and branding to increase qualified web traffic and online leads. We service clients in Toronto and throughout Canada and the U.S.

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