Privacy Concerns See Facebook Users Flee

Scott Lambert

New data from market analysis company SocialBakers shows that social media giant Facebook has been rapidly shedding users, losing as many as nine million in the US alone. While some are being lost to competitors and some simply seem to have become bored, one big concern that keeps being raised is privacy. This also has implications for other social media businesses and for everyone who makes commercial use of them.

Research conducted by the University of Vienna suggests that privacy concerns are the main reason for quitting. According to Brenda Wiederhold, editor of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, recent reports about government snooping are a major worry. LinkedIn recently released a statement to reassure its members that it would share their personal data with government agencies only when legally obliged to do so or in emergencies, and it has directly criticized the US government for failing to let it release data on security-related information requests. This kind of approach may prove necessary for users to feel that social media companies are on their side, even when these companies are still bound by state regulations.

Data shared with marketing companies is also a concern for users and recently caused Facebook to back away from plans to let users’ pictures appear in adverts targeted at their friends. The strength of concern over this issue combines with other data to suggest that users are increasingly wary about corporate tracking of their activities, with many also expressing concern about visiting sites that use cookies – something that used to be taken for granted online.

As user awareness of these issues increases, savvy businesses will rethink their social media marketing to address related concerns. This may involve making explicit statements about when data will and will not be collected and being clear about the limits of what it will be used for. Gestures such as this can help a business to develop a reputation for trustworthiness at a time when overall trust is declining sharply.

Despite the slump in users, it is still well worth maintaining a presence on Facebook; however, it may also be worth keeping an eye on some of its newer competitors. The data suggests that the rapid growth of alternatives such as Instagram may be may be partly responsible for drawing Facebook users away, at least in younger demographics.

To find out more about your options and how to improve your social media marketing techniques, contact Xcellimark at (888) 318-3950 ext.211.

Scott Lambert

Written by Scott Lambert

For 35 years, Scott has been at the forefront of digital transformation and how it is effectively applied in businesses and organizations to market, sell, and support customers and members more successfully and cost effectively. Scott is President and Co-Founder of Xcellimark, an award-winning digital marketing agency serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, and Germany. Xcellimark helps businesses succeed through the implementation of its unique digital marketing and sales approach specifically designed to meet their specific goals and objectives. Scott’s marketing, sales, and operations experience have included key management positions at industry leaders including AT&T, iXL (now SapientRazorfish), eSchool Solutions (now TalentED), and BellSouth, where he led the product development, marketing efforts, and market launch of, the second public ISP developed in the U.S. Scott is the author of articles highlighted on leading online publishers such as LinkedIn, Business 2 Community, and he was recently featured by LinkedIn in the Entrepreneur magazine article on “No Time for Marketing? Hire a Freelancer.” His engaging personality and wealth of real-world and business experience make Scott a frequently requested speaker. Some of his engagements include being the featured speaker in a series of Orlando Business Journal seminars on Digital Marketing, speaking at the WSI London conference, and at international conferences in Belize. Scott has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s of Science in the Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Scott has been active in global mission efforts and is a board member of Global Teams, a Christian outreach organization. He lives in Winter Springs, FL with his wife Nancy and dog Sadie.

Topics: Social Media

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