Brands shouldn’t dump Facebook as users shrug off Cambridge Analytica scandal, researcher says

Brands should be careful about jumping on the ‘dump Facebook’ bandwagon as Australians have largely shrugged off privacy concerns raised in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a market research company claims.

In a poll of 944 Australians by online market research agency, The Digital Edge, only one in five Facebook users said they had changed their account settings in response to the scandal with 3% claiming they had deleted or deactivated their accounts.

Roger Neyland, director of operations at The Digital Edge: “his shows the value of diving deeper to understand what is actually happening”

“As with all global scandals – everyone who is anyone has an opinion. The outcry following the Cambridge Analytica breach has focused firmly on Facebook. However, for all the great declarations from consumers and companies that they are leaving the platform, our research shows that the reality doesn’t quite stack up,” Roger Neyland, director of operations at The Digital Edge, told Mumbrella.

Of those surveyed, over half – 515 respondents – hadn’t heard of the Cambridge Analytica story while 21% said they had modified their behaviour as a result of the scandal.

Facebook’s trustworthiness however had taken a severe hit in the survey with only 25% of respondents saying they trusted the social media service as opposed to 60% trusting Google, 49% trusting Apple and 36% trusting Amazon.

Local brands also fared better than Facebook with 64% of respondents trusting Coles, 63% Woolworths and 44% putting their faith in Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank.

Despite two thirds of respondents believing that the Australian Cricket team is more trustworthy than Facebook, nearly 70% of Facebook users who knew about the scandal haven’t actually made any changes to their privacy settings.

Only 21% of the 944 respondents surveyed had changed their Facebook privacy settings as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal with 3% saying they had deleted the app but hadn’t dropped out of the service.

In good news for Facebook, a majority of respondents agreed with their business model with 56% agreeing with the question “I think targeted ads are okay as long as Facebook remains free.”

Neyland believes the message from the survey is brands need to take a deeper look at consumer behaviour before deciding to shut down their presence on a platform: “This shows the value of diving deeper to understand what is actually happening, beyond the hype, so you can jump ahead of the curve rather than on the bandwagon.”


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