Privacy concerns have prompted 40% of people to scrape at least one social media account, a new study found.
Social media users are becoming more private.
A lack of trust in websites like Twitter and Facebook has prompted 40% of people with social media accounts to delete at least one of them in the past year, new research by public relations agency Edelman found.
The firm polled 9,000 people in Canada, China, France, Germany, Brazil, India, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K. and the U.S., and found collective outrage over repeated online privacy violations stemming from the Cambridge Analytica data leak and uncertainty about the truth in articles online as a result of the Russian-produced fake news that influenced the 2016 presidential election. What’s more, 48% surveyed said that it’s a brand’s fault if its advertising appears next to violent or hateful content, and 62% wanted more regulation on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. A whopping 2.6 billion people use social media across the globe.
The social networks are scrambling to do damage control. Facebook agreed to take down 270 pages and accounts in April posted by the Internet Research Agency, the Russian group that tried to influence the election. And last month, both Twitter and Facebook debuted stricter guidelines for political ads ahead of the midterm elections.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also endured a two-day congressional testimony before House and Senate lawmakers in April, fielding questions regarding data collection, censorship, user privacy and whether the platform should be regulated after the social media platform allowed more than 50 million users’ data to be harvested by British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook revealed that it knew about the breach since 2015, but only just suspended the firm from its platform this year. The controversy led to a #DeleteFacebook movement, with users vowing to permanently leave the world’s largest social network. As a result, 7% of Americans deleted the Facebook app from their phone over privacy concerns, and 9% said they deleted their account altogether.
Another survey last year revealed our society’s collective distrust regarding privacy online — just 9% of social media users were “very confident” that companies would protect their data, and about half of users were not at all or not too confident that their data was in safe hands.
Apart from privacy concerns, deleting more social media accounts could also help boost happiness. Research has shown that social media can negatively affect users’ mental health and wellbeing, with one study indicating that an increase in someone’s Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat use could significantly lead to a decline in mental health and an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
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