Title Most Facebook users in US are still loyal to the firm, despite privacy scandal, study finds | Daily Mail Online

Publication Date 2018-05-06

Text US Facebook users haven't been deterred by the firm's massive data scandal.

Three-quarters of Facebook users have remained as active, or even more active, on the site since the Cambridge Analytica scandal first developed in March, a new poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos has found.

The social media giant has been on the hot seat since it was revealed earlier this year that more than 87 million users' data had been harvested without their knowledge by Trump-affiliated research firm Cambridge Analytica.

The poll adds to other indications that Facebook has so far suffered no hits to its user base from the episode, other than a public relations headache.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) has been on the hot seat since the Cambridge Analytica scandal first erupted. But a new Reuters poll indicates US users have remained loyal

Facebook declined to comment.

Its executives have apologized for the data-harvesting, pledged to investigate others who collected Facebook user data and reduced the amount of data available to similar app developers now.

The national online poll, conducted this month, found that about half of Facebook's American users said they had not recently changed the amount that they used the site, and another quarter said they were using it more.

The remaining quarter said that they were using it less recently, had stopped using it or deleted their account.

That means that the people using Facebook less were roughly balanced by those using it more, with no clear net loss or gain in use.

Among all adults, 64 percent said they use Facebook at least once a day, down slightly from 68 percent who said so in a similar poll in late March, shortly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal first erupted.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll collected responses from over 2,000 respondents, including users who are active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Among all adults, 64 percent said they use Facebook at least once a day, down slightly from 68 percent who said so in late March, shortly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal first erupted

More Facebook users said they knew how to protect their personal information on the site than users of other social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.

According to the poll, 74 percent of Facebook users said they were aware of their current privacy settings, while 78 percent said they knew how to change them.

By comparison, 60 percent of Instagram users said they knew their current privacy settings and 65 percent said they knew how to change them.

And 55 percent of Twitter users knew their privacy settings, and 58 percent knew how to use them.

Despite their understanding of Facebook's privacy settings, only 23 percent of its users believe they have "total control" over the information they store on the platform.

Another 49 percent said they have "some control," and 20 percent said they had "no control." The remaining 9 percent said they do not know how much control they have.

More Facebook users said they knew how to protect their personal data on the site than users of other social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram (pictured), Pinterest and Tumblr

WHAT IS THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SCANDAL? Communications firms Cambridge Analytica has offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia. The company boasts it can 'find your voters and move them to action' through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists. 'Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections,' with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website. The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends. The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix (pictured), after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump This meant the company was able to mine the information of 87 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so. This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters' choices at the ballot box. The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump. This information is said to have been used to help the Brexit campaign in the UK.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said Facebook is lucky the data seems to have been used only for political ads and not more nefarious purposes.

'I have yet to read an article that says a single person has been harmed by the breach,' he said.

'Nobody's outraged on a visceral level'.

A separate poll conducted recently by Reuters found that people trust Facebook to protect their data less than other popular tech platforms.

Roughly 41 percent of Americans trust Facebook to guard their information, while 66 percent said they trust Amazon, 62 percent said they trust Google, 60 percent trust Microsoft and 47 percent trust Yahoo, which has dealt with a string of recent data breaches.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal broke on March 16, sparking interest online in the hashtag #deletefacebook as many users said they considered fleeing the platform.

HOW TO CHECK IF YOUR DATA WAS SHARED WITH CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA All 2.2 billion Facebook users began to receive a notification automatically at the top their newsfeed after it was launched on Tuesday, April 10, a day later than expected. Titled 'Protecting Your Information,' it contains a link to let you see what apps you use and what information you have shared with them. Affected users are automatically presented with a notice that says: 'We have banned the website "This Is Your Digital Life," which one of your friends used Facebook to log into. 'We did this because the website may have misused some of your Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica.' Users can then click on a 'See how you're affected' button to find out more as well as to remove permission for apps and websites you've logged into via Facebook to have access to your profile. For those not affected by the Cambridge Analytica incident the message reads: 'You can go to the Apps and Websites section of your settings anytime to see the apps and websites you've used Facebook to log into.' The 'Go to apps and websites' button will provide quick access to review and amend these permissions. A separate 'How can I tell if my info was shared with Cambridge Analytica?' tool will also resolve the question for you. To manually access this tool, click the link here. Users not believed to be affected will see the message 'Based on our available records, neither you nor your friends logged into "This Is Your Digital Life." 'As a result, it doesn't appear your Facebook information was shared with Cambridge Analytica by "This Is Your Digital Life".' Affected users will see a different message and they will be asked to to change their app settings, available here. This is something that is still advisable for the security conscious, removing permissions for apps you no longer need or don't recognise. Facebook is not notifying individual users of the identify of friends who may have used the 'This Is Your Digital Life' app.

In its first quarter results, however, Facebook said the number of monthly users in the United States and Canada rose to 241 million on March 31 from 239 million on Dec. 31, growth that was roughly in line with recent years.

Cambridge Analytica has suffered a much worse outcome as fallout from the scandal, with the firm announcing last week it has started bankruptcy proceedings after a 'siege of media coverage'.

However, this may not be the end for its owners.

Two new London-based companies, Firecrest Technologies and Emerdata, have been set up with the same registered address, same purpose and same directors.

A former Cambridge Analytica employee and senior lawmakers have suggested these two companies could be picking up where Cambridge Analytica left off.

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