Canadians are rethinking how they use social media in the wake of recent data mining activities.
Close to three-quarters of Canadians surveyed have said that recent issues with Facebook would cause them to modify how they use the social media platform. Some even said they will delete their profile.
In an online poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, one in 10 Canadians said they would completely stop using Facebook by either taking a prolonged break or by deleting their account.
This is all in response to reports that Cambridge Analytica, a data aggregation company, obtained the info of 50 million Facebook users and targeted them with political advertising in an attempt to sway important events like Brexit and the 2016 U.S. election.
The Angus Reid Institute conducted two separate surveys—one between February 28 and March 2, and the other from March 21 to 22. The second survey took place after the Cambridge Analytica story broke. Both surveys polled just over 1,500 Canadians and asked them about attitudes towards Facebook.
Just over 40 per cent of respondents said they would continue to use the platform, but might modify their usage or change privacy settings. Another 23 per cent said they would flat out use Facebook less.
In total, 27 per cent of those surveyed in the poll said they would not change how they use Facebook at all.
One interesting takeaway from the study is that those who said they would delete their profile or step away for a period of time were already less active on the platform. This means they were already growing distant from Facebook.
Just over a quarter of people who used Facebook only once a week (or less) said they would delete or suspend their account, while just five per cent of those who log on everyday said they would do the same.
Overall, 38 per cent of Canadians have said their opinion of Facebook has worsened over the past month.
The hashtag #DeleteFacebook trended on Twitter over the past few days, and a few notable tech luminaires got in on the action. The co-founder of WhatsApp—which was acquired by Facebook for $16 billion—tweeted out #DeleteFacebook, and Elon Musk also deleted the Facebook pages for SpaceX and Tesla.
It will take a few months to see if the Cambridge Analytica story has any real effect on Facebook’s user numbers in both the U.S. and Canada.