A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that 26 percent of adult Facebook users have deleted the social media app from their phone. More than half (54 percent) of Facebook users older than 18 say they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past year and 42 percent say they have taken a weeks-long break from checking the platform. Three out of four Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these actions in the past year.
Pew conducted its study after news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook failed to protect the data of more than 50 million of its users. The study illustrates the concern Facebook users have for their online privacy. Users are taking action to curb the company’s abuses and protect their data privacy. But individual users can only do so much. Lawmakers should take broader public policy measures to protect consumers.
Federal agencies can take actions to protect consumers as well. Freedom From Facebook, a coalition of groups concerned with Facebook’s practices and business model, is demanding the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) curb Facebook’s power. The coalition is urging regulators to spin off Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger into competing networks, require interoperability, and impose strong privacy rules that empower and protect us. You can read the coalition’s full petition at freedomfromFB.com.
Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook (Pew Research Center, Sept. 5, 2018)
Facebook fails to protect 50 million users’ data from Trump-connected breach (Speed Matters, Mar. 19, 2018)
CWA joins Freedom From Facebook coalition (July 9, 2018)