A major survey by the global public relations firm Edelman has found that four in 10 people deleted a social media account like Facebook or Twitter in the last year. That’s not just deleting the app off their phone, that’s deleting the entire account permanently.
Trust in social media has also now dropped to just 41% around the world and is at an even lower 24% here in the UK.
While it’s clear that the recent revelations around Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data have tipped people over the edge, the report suggests that many of us were already getting distinctly fed up with the way social media companies were operating.
Concerns around advertising, Russian-backed fake news campaigns and even concerns around election tampering have all contributed to a significant eroding of our faith in what social media can offer.
60% of the 9,000 people asked don’t trust social media companies to behave responsibly with the data that they’re being entrusted with. A further 62% also believe that governments should step in with regulation to help police social media companies and the way they handle our data.
This isn’t just bad news for social media companies, but also for the advertisers that are helping keep them afloat. Half of us are now at the stage where we’re no longer willing to sacrifice any of our personal data in exchange for better services such as personalised shopping or better ads.
Edelman’s Global Brand Chair Mark Renshaw: “Consumers are feeling ripped off and brands need to give them a better, more transparent and more direct deal.”
Facebook’s response to Cambridge Analytica has been significant with the promise of tighter controls over how companies can access our data as well as more controls over how we share it.
In addition the EU-enforced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives those within the EU even more control over the way companies can sell our data to advertisers.
Writing in the report, Edelman’s CEO believes this year has seen the start of new movement in which consumers are starting to realise the worth of their own privacy.
“Consumers don’t want to give up on social media— it has become a crucial partner in their lives.” He writes. “But they want a New Deal with the platforms. Be transparent with me about what you are doing, including clear identification of sponsorship.”