Is It Time To #DeleteFacebook?

A survey has shown that people in Northern Ireland are far more likely to have deleted their Facebook accounts as a result of the recent privacy scandal than the average person in the UK.

The survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by digital scrapbook Storychest showed that people from Northern Ireland are 50% more likely (14.3%) than UK average (9%) to have deleted their Facebook accounts as a result of #DeleteFacebook.

Overall, almost one in ten (9%) of UK based survey respondents say they have deleted their Facebook accounts over privacy concerns. To put that percentage into context, with 55 million adults in the UK, that means around five million adults in the UK have now deleted their Facebook accounts since the #DeleteFacebook movement began.

Of those who had retained their accounts, one in ten (10%) said they are posting fewer personal photos or less personal information on the platform as a result of the scandal, while almost one in 20 (4%) say they are now looking for a more private alternative to Facebook. People from Northern Ireland were one third more likely to be looking for a private alternative (6%), compared to the average person in the UK (4%).

Storychest founder Charlotte McMillan said that, while it’s reasonable people have concerns over privacy, it’s also important that precious memories are safely stored for future generations and not lost in the ether.

“While millions are now feeling uncomfortable sharing private photos and information on Facebook, it’s important to recognise that we live in a world where many memories only exist digitally,” explains McMillan.

The Storychest founder said she set up her company when she realised she needed a way to store her own family’s memories, having lost a group of baby photos which had been stored on her computer.

“People need a trustworthy place to keep these memories, safely and privately, so they don’t get lost, but can be shared with loved ones for years to come,” said McMillan. “It’s a problem I’d encountered myself. It’s devastating to lose precious photos but, equally, we all want to make sure our personal memories are kept in a safe place.”

The company commissioned the survey in order to find out people’s reactions to the privacy issues highlighted by the scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, in which the data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box. The #DeleteFacebook hashtag began circulating is response to the controversy.

“We wanted to know if the #DeleteFacebook movement had really altered people’s behaviour in relation to the social media platform,” said McMillan. 

“This survey shows that for a growing number of people, the privacy concerns surrounding Facebook have really hit home.

“Consumers are waking up to how the social media giants operate and how their business models work; they now fully realise what the trade-off has cost them in terms of misuse of individual’s personal data and privacy.

“The survey results show that, for an increasing number of consumers, these issues are a genuine concern and, in particular, there is an increasing of level of discomfort with posting personal photos and information on Facebook”.

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