By Emma Fitzpatrick
Think just for a moment about all the data Facebook has collected about all of us who’ve signed up for the platform.
Of course, the company knows all the basics (age, gender, political/religious affiliations). But Facebook also knows what articles you read, the places you go, who your friends are, and so much more. To see the entirety of what Facebook knows about you, click here. And yes, it’s just as scary as you think.
Now, how would you feel if Facebook shared all that data about you without your consent?
In short, that’s the catalyst for the #DeleteFacebook movement. Read on for an essential Q&A about Facebook’s latest crisis and how your bank should react.
Q: What spurred the #DeleteFacebook movement?
It recently came to light that over 87 million Facebook users had their data harvested by Cambridge Analytica in 2014, a political firm that was hired by President Trump’s campaign.
Roughly 270,000 Facebook users downloaded an app to take a personality quiz by researchers (specifically Aleksandr Kogan from Cambridge University) and consented to share their data, which in turn scraped information from all their Facebook friends’ profiles without their consent.
Kogan then provided 50 million raw Facebook profiles to Cambridge Analytica for data harvesting. With that information, Cambridge Analytica crafted personality profiles that they used to create psychographic and psychological messages tailored to predict and change how they would vote.
If you want to learn more, keep reading here.
Q: Are people actually following through with #DeleteFacebook?
After hearing how Facebook handled their data, many users had enough and vowed to #DeleteFacebook. Within a week, the hashtag has reportedly been shared over 400,000 times.
A few celebrities, including Cher and Will Ferrell, deleted their Facebook pages, as did companies like Playboy and Tesla. But that’s almost the entirety of the list.
In fact, only 8% of those recently surveyed by securities firm Raymond James said they would stop using Facebook as a result. More than 25% said they would use Facebook somewhat less as a result, and nearly 75% said they were concerned about the data incident.
Q: Should I delete my bank’s Facebook page?
Even Elon Musk, who deleted the Tesla and SpaceX page, tweeted, “I don’t use FB & never have, so don’t think I’m some kind of martyr or my companies are taking a huge blow.”
In short, even the couple of companies that are deleting their Facebook pages are doing it because the platform isn’t crucial. At this time, erasing business pages is not a trend that’s catching on.
With that in mind, think it through very carefully before deleting your bank’s Facebook page. If you do, it’ll be permanent, and you won’t be able to reactivate your page in the future.
Q: Is it better to go dark instead of deleting the entire account?
Some large advertisers, like Mozilla, have suspended all advertising on Facebook. The company released a statement saying: “This news caused us to take a closer look at Facebook’s current default privacy settings given that we support the platform with our advertising dollars.”
Again, this is more of an isolated incident because not many companies are following Mozilla’s lead. German bank Commerzbank was one that followed suit.
Since those announcements, the available data suggests users are still using Facebook. Because of that, you may not gain many kudos from your Facebook fans if you suspended your advertising.
Likewise, there’s no real advantage to taking a hiatus from publishing content. Your fans are continuing to use Facebook as usual (albeit a little bit less).
Q: What else should I know or do?
- Your ad targeting is changing. Facebook is ending its Partner Categories, which allowed third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. With this data from major providers like Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai, advertisers were able to use online and offline purchase data to target customers and customer interests.
- You may see less engagement. Even if users aren’t deleting their Facebook accounts altogether, users are skeptical of Facebook and may spend less time on the network. Even before this scandal, a third-party research firm found the number of Americans currently using Facebook was down for the first time. In 2018, only 62% of people are using Facebook, down from 67% last year.
- You should start developing a backup plan. Continue to monitor your engagement and reach on Facebook. Simultaneously, begin thinking about other platforms that could supplement your potentially lackluster Facebook performance.
Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social media marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at firstname.lastname@example.org.