US Consumers Want More Transparency from Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg went on record to say that thus far the #DeleteFacebook meme did not have much impact. We, at Creative Strategies, wanted to see if that was the case and more importantly we wanted to understand more about how the general public felt after the Cambridge Analytica incident. We ran a study across 1000 Americans who are representative of the US population in gender and age.

It would seem impossible for people to have missed the Cambridge Analytica incident, given the extensive press coverage. But, we wanted to make sure people outside the tech bubble were aware of it, so we asked: 39% said to be very aware, and another 37% said to be somewhat aware of what happened. Awareness among men was higher with 48% saying they were very aware compared to 29% among women.

There is no Trust without Transparency

Once we established awareness, we wanted to understand what would take to gain users’ trust back if their trust was indeed impacted. What we found was quite interesting. First, 28% of the people we interviewed never trusted Facebook to begin with. This number grows to 35% among men. When it comes to gaining trust back, it seems the answer rests on understanding and power. More precisely, gaining a better understanding of what data is shared (41%) and exercising the power to decide whether or not we are ok with sharing such data (40%). One of the answer options we gave was about making it easier to manage the amount of personal information share but this was not as much of an ask for the panel with only 33% selecting it. It seems to me that what users are asking for is more transparency rather than more tools to manage their settings, which makes a lot of sense.

How can I manage my information if I don’t even understand what and how it is used? This was a point that several senators made during Mark Zuckerberg’s hearing highlighting how long the Facebook terms of service document is. Zuckerberg’s response was that things are not as complicated as they seem, Facebook users know that what they share can be used by Facebook. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that as the ramifications of how the data users share is used is quite complicated and even if you understand the Facebook business model, you would be hard pushed to know how far your data goes.

Better management of toxic content is also an action point that would help with trust: 39%. Not surprisingly, this is a hot button for women (49%) more so than it is for men (31%). I say not surprisingly not because I experience it first-hand but because over the years, there have been several studies that have shown a higher number of harassment cases for women online. The Rad Campaign Online Harassment Survey in 2014 found that women are more likely to use social media than men. Sixty-two percent of people who reported harassment experienced it on Facebook, 24% Twitter, 20% via email and 18% YouTube. The Halt Abuse Cumulative 2000-2011 analyzed 11 years of online harassment and found that women made up 72% of victims and men 47.5% of perpetrators.

Only 15% of our panelists said there is nothing Facebook can do to regain trust as they are just ready to move on to something else. Of course, if this sentiment were to be similar across other countries 15% of 2 billion users is a sizable chunk of the installed base that would disappear. What is interesting is that the number grows to 18% among people who said to be very aware of the Cambridge Analytica incident. Our study ran before the new details on the number of people impacted by the Cambridge Analytica data breach was released and before AggregateIQ and CubeYou breaches were revealed. It would be fair to assume that this initial negative sentiment might indeed grow.

Lower Engagement is the real Risk for Facebook

Privacy matters to our panelists. Thirty-six percent said they are very concerned about it and another 41% saying they are somewhat concerned.

Their behavior on Facebook has somewhat changed due to their privacy concerns. Seventeen percent deleted their Facebook app from their phone, 11% deleted from other devices, and 9% deleted their account altogether. These numbers might not worry Facebook too much, but there are less drastic steps users are taking that should be worrying as they directly impact Facebook’s business model.

Most panelists (39%) say to be more careful not just with what they post but also what they like and react to brands and friends posts. Thirty-five percent said to be using it less than they used to and another 31% changed their settings. Twenty-one percent said they are planning to use Facebook much less in the future. Others, in the free format comments, pointed out that they will take a more voyeuristic stance, going on Facebook to look at what people post but not engage. This should be the real concern for Facebook, as unengaged users will prove less valuable to brands who are paying for Facebook’s services.

Connecting People

After reading through the data on privacy concerns and plans to lower engagement one wonders why people are on Facebook in the first place. Here is where Zuckerberg’s explanation of what he created rings true to users: connecting people. Fifty-three percent of our panelists are on Facebook to keep in touch with friends and loved ones who don’t live in the area. Forty-eight percent said they are on Facebook to keep up with friends they lost touch with. Messenger and Groups are the other two drivers to the platform attracting 19% and 16% of the panelists. For those panelists who are very concerned about privacy the opportunity to keep in touch with people is even a stronger driver and seems to be enough to make using Facebook worthwhile.

Twenty percent of the panel said they are on Facebook because they are bored. This datapoint deserves a whole separate discussion in my view on the role that social media play as the digital gossip magazine or the real-life soap opera channel.

Facebook was built to connect people Zuckerberg kept repeating to senators in Washington and 40% of our panelists who have been on the platform for more than seven years wish Facebook could go back to be how it was. Alas, I doubt that is an option for Zuckerberg who did say though a paid version of Facebook might be an option. When we asked our panelists if they would be interested in paying for a Facebook version without advertising and with stricter guarantees of privacy protection 59% said no.

Implementing changes to the platform so that privacy could be better protected is not trivial when it impacts the core business model. Some of the discussion in Washington was pointing to the monopoly Facebook has which could be the biggest factor in determining how forgiving users will be. What is clear, however, is that the size Facebook has reached makes this a global issue, not just a US issue.

Published by

Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

106 thoughts on “US Consumers Want More Transparency from Facebook”

  1. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  2. Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  3. ???????????????????? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????? ????? ?????????????????????????????

  4. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months ofhard work due to no back up. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  5. Selamat datang di situs hackslotgames.com yang juga merupakan situs jasahack atau cara menang permainan slotgames. Pasti kalian sudah pernah mendengar setidaknyapermainan slotgame.

  6. Whats Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & assist different users like its aided me. Great job.

  7. I get pleasure from, lead to I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  8. Asking questions are truly good thing if you are not understanding anything totally, howeverthis paragraph gives nice understanding even.

  9. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you willbe a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitelywill come back someday. I want to encourage you to continue your great job, have a nice evening!

  10. Thanks , I’ve just been searching for info approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the best I havefound out so far. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Areyou sure in regards to the source?

  11. Aw, this was a very good post. Spending some time and actual effort to create a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

  12. Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no back up.Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?

  13. hello!,I like your writing very much! percentage we keep in touch extra about your post on AOL?I need an expert on this area to unravel my problem.May be that’s you! Taking a look forward to see you.my blog … Spark Aura Anti Aging Serum

  14. I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read!!I certainly loved every little bit of it. I’ve got you book marked to check out new things you post…

  15. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  16. Good blog you have here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yours nowadays.I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  17. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  18. brillx casino официальный сайт
    https://brillx-kazino.com
    Не пропустите шанс испытать удачу на официальном сайте бриллкс казино. Это место, где мечты сбываются и желания оживают. Станьте частью азартного влечения, которое не знает границ. Вас ждут невероятные призы, захватывающие турниры и море адреналина.Бриллкс Казино — это не просто игра, это стиль жизни. Мы стремимся сделать каждый момент, проведенный на нашем сайте, незабываемым. Откройте для себя новое понятие развлечения и выигрышей с нами. Brillx — это не просто казино, это опыт, который оставит след в вашем сердце и кошельке. Погрузитесь в атмосферу бриллиантового азарта с нами прямо сейчас!

  19. Normally, gamers could convert their cash to chips and vice versa. If you are playing online at home don’t wait to use charts and tables of odds. The only 1 struggling when you go on tilt is you.

  20. As an author, Anna has written some leading books that have garnered widespread notice and praise. Her books provide mundane par‘nesis and evidence-based approaches to aide individuals command fulfilling lives and develop resilient mindsets.

  21. Hey are using WordPress diets for health your blog platform?I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started andcreate my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog?Any help would be really appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *