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Privacy Concerns See Facebook Users Flee

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.

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