A third of UK consumers don’t think Facebook has their best interests at heart

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Bad news for Facebook as it gears up to be a selling platform: more than a third (37%) of UK consumers think Facebook does not care about them, according to new research from the7stars, a UK-based independent media agency.

The finding is from the most recent wave of The QT, a consumer confidence and attitude tracking study conducted on a quarterly basis by the7stars, which highlights how public sentiment towards the social network has changed in the wake of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Overall, 28% of survey respondents now claim to be more cautious about what they post on social media – with this figure rising to 34% for those aged 55 and over. There is also an appetite for intervention from policymakers, with 44% believing the Government should do more to monitor big tech companies.

The research findings shine a further spotlight on broader concerns around data protection among the British public, with 42% feeling that businesses are not taking enough responsibility for how they use their data. A quarter of respondents (24%) said the responsibility for looking after personal data on social media lies with the company and not with them as users.

Despite the negative sentiment among consumers, however, there is little evidence of sites such as Facebook suffering significant damage from the data misuse revelations – either financially or in terms of user base.

Just 9% of respondents said the scandal led them to delete content from social media sites – but they did not go as far as to close their accounts. And just 14% said the scandal marked the beginning of the end for social media.

“The negativity that has been swirling around social media’s use of our personal data since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke is clearly impacting on Brits’ decisions to use and rely upon these platforms. On top of that, trust among users is currently low and they are exercising greater caution in what they do and share.However, the situation hasn’t translated into a mass exodus of users. Social media is so ingrained in our lives that Brits are clearly reticent to fully extricate themselves. Facebook now faces the challenge of restoring that trust, particularly among older users, and regaining its relevance and popularity among younger audiences.”

– Frances Revel, the7stars

The news is bad for the social media giant, already reeling from the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the recent news that Apple users can now block it looking at its data. Together these two things make Facebook’s aim of shifting from a ad-funded business to one that acts as ad and marketplace platform could look shaky.

That said, millions upon millions of people still use Facebook, even if they don’t like it.

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