19

Reported on the BBC:

But when the news came out that Facebook had passed on data of up to 87 million of its members to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica without their knowledge - and one in 20 Brits were reported to delete their accounts - I started to wonder just how much information the social network had on me.

There's a 'campaignlive' page linked for that data, which does say

One in 20 Brits delete Facebook accounts after the Cambridge Analytica scandal

A survey has found that while 93% of Brits were aware of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, 5% have left Facebook and 6% say they intend to.

The study, by WPP-owned Syzygy and marketing intelligence platform Attest, also found that 54% of the 1,000 respondents have changed or intend to change their privacy settings.

Is this WPP study corroborated by other sources on the outflux? Given the huge dependence on social media most people have, I'm not too confident that having "left" is the same thing as deleting the account... or not returning soon thereafter.

  • Have you been able to find this 'study' they reference? I haven't been able to find any mention of it apart from people linking back to this article – Jon.G Jun 27 '18 at 13:29
  • @Jon.G: wpp.com/wpp/marketing/reportsstudies currently returns a blank page, so who knows if it's been published there or just the press releases went out. – Fizz Jun 27 '18 at 14:04
  • On any given day, how many people (or bots) delete their Facebook accounts? – Daniel R Hicks Aug 1 '18 at 11:55
  • I doubt it's five percent. I'm waiting for a few more friends to get on MeWe.com – WGroleau Aug 2 '18 at 0:18
  • There's now study in the US saying 9.6% deleted/deactivated their accounts, but they also admit to not using a representative sample. – Fizz Aug 2 '18 at 20:49
3

I could not find the report of the study by Syzygy and marketing intelligence firm Attest, although I wouldn't be surprised if the report has still been kept confidential by whoever commissioned the study. Market information that provides competitive benefits is part of the point of commissioning such studies (Forbes).

Surveys and polls reporting the number of people who delete Facebook accounts are scarce. To the best of my knowledge, no other poll has been conducted on this topic in the UK. Additionally, Gallup has not yet conducted a poll on this topic. The Pew Research Center has conducted a general survey on Facebook and the American population (emphasis added in the excerpt). Unfortunately, none of the survey questions had to do with permanently deleting a Facebook account.

Most notably, 44% of younger users (those ages 18 to 29) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year, nearly four times the share of users ages 65 and older (12%) who have done so.

Of course, deleting the app is different from deleting a profile. With such a high number, I wouldn't be surprised if 5% of Britons deleted their Facebook profile. While the rest of the Pew article is interesting, it doesn't directly relate to the question. I encourage you to read it if the subject is fascinating.

I did find two other relevant surveys. cnet reported that (emphasis added)

A new survey from the app "Blind' found that up to 31 percent of tech workers are planning to delete Facebook.

(Also, there's a big difference between saying you're going to delete Facebook and actually deleting Facebook.)

The other relevant survey was conducted by Tech.pinions (emphasis added).

We ran a study across 1000 Americans who are representative of the US population in gender and age.

Seventeen percent deleted their Facebook app from their phone, 11% deleted from other devices, and 9% deleted their [Facebook] account altogether.

Business Insider, Fortune, and techradar have reported on this statistic.

It is interesting to note that if the campaignlive and tech.pinions statistics are accurate, 5% of Britons and 10% of Americans have left Facebook. I would like to point out that the campaignlive page writes "5% have left Facebook." Tech.pinion writes in a much more forceful tone "deleted their [Facebook] account altogether."

Finally, there is a survey conducted by The Atlantic that @Fizz identified (emphasis added).

This survey is not scientific—The Atlantic pushed it out to readers on Facebook and Twitter, in newsletters, and through our membership program, no doubt skewing the demographics of the sample. The 2,218 respondents were 82 percent white and largely based in the United States. Fifty-nine percent were female, 40 percent were male, and 1 percent were nonbinary. A variety of ages are represented, though on the whole the sample leans older.

A small but not insignificant portion of people—9.6 percent—said they deleted or deactivated their Facebook account as a result of the news.

This 9.6% roughly agrees with the 9% from Tech.pinions survey of representative Americans.

Is this WPP study corroborated by other sources on the outflux?

Yes, the results of the WPP study are corroborated by other sources and don't appear to be unlikely. Of course, it would be better if Gallup or Pew conducts a poll/survey in the UK. Until then, this will be the best answer that can be provided.

This answer will be updated as new information arises. I will incorporate helpful comments into the answer.

  • @Fizz, if you or anybody else sees possible improvements for the answer, let me know and I will update it. I appreciate any and all feedback. – Barry Harrison Apr 12 at 2:06

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