Un-liking Facebook: 3-in-4 Canadians say scandal will change how they use it

THE revelation that U.K. data firm Cambridge Analytica surreptitiously gathered data from some 50 million Facebook users – among numerous other alleged shady practices – has fueled a growing #DeleteFacebook movement in recent weeks.

In Canada, a two-part public opinion survey from the Angus Reid Institute finds a significant number of Canadians joining in. Nearly three-quarters of Facebook users (73%) in this country say they’ll make at least some change to how they interact with the ubiquitous social media platform, while fewer than three-in-ten (27%) say they’ll take a ‘business as usual’ approach to their Facebook use.

One-in-ten (10%) say they plan to abandon the platform, at least temporarily, as a result of what they learned from Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie.

The second wave of data shows the Cambridge Analytica disclosures have further damaged favourable views of Facebook, which was already dealing with questions about its advertising algorithm disproportionately benefitting the Trump campaign and its handling of fake news on its platform during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

All of this public scrutiny is taking a toll on Canadians’ perceptions of the platform nearly six-in-10 (57%) say they use every day. Even before the latest Cambridge Analytica story broke, Facebook was the large tech company Canadians were most likely to view unfavourably. Now, 38 per cent say their opinion of the social media giant has worsened in the last month.

 

More Key Findings:

  • Roughly twice as many Canadians say Facebook has a negative influence on public discourse in this country (35%) as say it has a positive one (18%), though the ratio is closer to an even split (23% positive, 30% negative) among those who use the platform daily
  • More Canadians have a favourable opinion of Facebook (41%) than an unfavourable one (33%), but Facebook’s unfavourability rating is considerably higher than those of Apple (20%), Amazon (12%), Microsoft (11%) or Google (10%)
  • Daily users of Facebook have a more favourable opinion of the company (57% view it favourably) than those who use the service less frequently
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