New data tells us that Facebook is losing the trust of its users much more quickly than some analysts expected. After CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in April before Congress and apologized for sharing personal data with numerous political groups, financial analysts indicated he did a good enough job to keep his users satisfied.
But the results from a survey conducted by Creative Strategies, a well-regarded Silicon Valley market research organization, paint a different story.
Specifically, one-third of users surveyed agreed with the statement, “I feel Facebook is spying on me.” Now, most users understand that they trade privacy for the benefits of Facebook, but have been told that the sharing of information was intended to be for serving up more relevant advertising. Spying takes it to a whole new level that implies distrust and a suspicion that they do much more with their private information.
In fact, just recently Facebook admitted they accessed and shared users’ address books and provided information belonging to non-users to advertisers. They also confirmed that the company shared users’ phone numbers that are used for double-authentication when signing in — in other words, they shared the second password. And to make matters worse, they just admitted to a huge breach of security, where 50 to 90 million accounts were compromised.
The reactions of users are shown with some additional responses to Creative Strategies’ survey. Fifty-four percent of users surveyed agreed that “I am not entirely comfortable with how good Facebook has become at tracking my online activity.”
But the results of this question should be of most concern to Facebook: 23 percent of users say, “Facebook has become a toxic place for me to spend my time.”
And in another poll in September, Pew Research found that 42 percent of adults have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while 26 percent say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone.
People are more likely to use products from companies they trust and turn away from those they don’t. What we’re seeing here is an increasing distaste for Facebook and what they are doing. Clearly, their management has not done a good job in satisfying users. And their users are becoming smart enough to abandon Facebook or to use it much less in increasing numbers. Users are seeing through the false promises of Facebook’s executives who promised to do better after their testimony, but, in fact, are doing much worse.