Should You Delete Your Facebook Account?
What do the recent Facebook changes and news about the data sharing mean for businesses? Should you delete your account?
In this blog, we will be discussing the recent news about Facebook sharing personal data, what this means for businesses who use Facebook, the recent Facebook changes, and what businesses can expect moving forward.
First – the data sharing from Facebook – Let’s break this down.
What exactly happened back in 2013 that started all this?
Here is a statement from Mark Zukerberg – I’ll try to paraphrase it but he does a good job at explaining it, so I may read this:
“In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends’ data. Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access tens of millions of their friends’ data.
In 2014, to prevent abusive apps, we announced that we were changing the entire platform to dramatically limit the data apps could access. Most importantly, apps like Kogan’s could no longer ask for data about a person’s friends unless their friends had also authorized the app. We also required developers to get approval from us before they could request any sensitive data from people. These actions would prevent any app like Kogan’s from being able to access so much data today.
In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people’s consent, so we immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications.
Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this. We’re also working with regulators as they investigate what happened.
But there’s more we need to do and I’ll outline those steps here:
First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity. We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit. And if we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps. That includes people whose data Kogan misused here as well.
Second, we will restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months. We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in — to only your name, profile photo, and email address. We’ll require developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data. And we’ll have more changes to share in the next few days.
Third, we want to make sure you understand which apps you’ve allowed to access your data. In the next month, we will show everyone a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you’ve used and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data. We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings, and now we will put this tool at the top of your News Feed to make sure everyone sees it.
While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past. We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.
We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “
First – If you’ve ever used those personality quizzes/what is your leprechaun name, etc., you’ve agreed to share your facebook info AND your friend’s facebook names with the creator of those apps & quizzes. If you did not know this, you did not read their terms of agreement you have to select to get the results from those quizzes, and that is NOT Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook’s fault – that is your fault. If you don’t like that – you can 1) do not use those apps anymore; and 2) go into your personal settings and revoke the apps access to your info, because guess what?? They’re still gathering info on you!!
Second – As a person, you might find all this info gathering an invasion of privacy. I don’t like it. But think from a business advertising perspective for a minute – Why do you think FB has one of the best, most accurate, most targeting options for facebook advertising? How do you think you’re able to reach just the right audiences who want & need to hear you message? Whatever you put into your personal FB profile and whatever activity you do on FB, is gathered and collected for businesses to use for FB advertising. As a business, you want access to this information; otherwise, you’re wasting your advertising dollars on the wrong audiences. Sorry – it’s not all bad.
Third – I believe Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook to take the proper actions – they are taking aggressive steps to make this right and to ensure they protect your information. I’ve been following this very closely and reading both sides. And I believe I am a fair person – I don’t blindly just follow one line of thinking – so whether you believe Mark Zuckerberg or think he’s just out to get us and make a profit, that’s your prerogative. I am presenting my thoughts & opinions on this and will not argue with anyone… just putting that out there.
What am I supposed to do? Should I delete my Facebook account and quit Facebook? Why should I stay on FB with all the recent changes?
NO – don’t delete FB!!
I expect to see a mass exodus from businesses on facebook (Tesla and SpaceX are the big ones who have left already, mostly out of pressure from their fan base and to look popular), but not individuals. Sure, some individuals will leave because they don’t like that Facebook allowed, whether intentionally or not, their personal information to be compromised.
Because businesses will think this is the right thing to do AND because of the recent changes made to the FB algorithm, I think businesses will panic because they can no longer get their precious leads in an instant anymore, and instead of adapting and shifting their strategy to stay relevant, they will panic and just leave facebook. Their loss. My gain! haha
But I believe most people will stay on FB for the simple fact that it’s too ingrained in their lifestyle – that’s how they stay in touch with family & friends who are not living in the same city. Sure, they’ll hate how fb “allowed” their info to be harvested, but if they want to see pictures of their nieces/nephews/grandkids, they’ll stay on the platform, and if your customers are on FB, your business needs to be too.
Businesses need to adapt, change the way they look at using social media for business – it’s more of a customer service tool, as a way to show how great you are by providing content that solves their problems and answers their questions. 86% of people today prefer to reach out to businesses on social media *before* they’ll pick up the phone, and they expect a response within 1-2 hours. If you can provide that kind of excellent customer service, you’ll be way ahead of your competitors, because weirdly, only 52% of businesses take the time to respond to comments on social media – crazy! Why would they miss out on that kind of easy outreach and opportunity for leads?
Social media marketing is no longer sales-focused, but instead a customer-relationship focused industry, and businesses need to get on board with that asap. It’s all about building customer relationships, providing memorable customer experiences, & gaining their trust by providing value to your followers by answering their questions & solving their problems, and that can take time (think of business networking) – it’s a long game, not a short term sales solution, and won’t happen in just a few social media promoted posts.
FB has said that individuals should not expect to just mindlessly viewing content anymore; FB will only show business posts that generate meaningful content that spurs conversation. As long as your business incorporates video, provides valuable content that answers your followers’ questions, and fills a need, you will find that FB is still a highly valuable resource for business. But you need to shift your attitude and strategy to be a valuable customer service resource for your customers that keeps them coming back to your pages.
Sure, people/businesses may still leave because think leaving FB will solve the problem, and they may start using IG or Linkedin more, but don’t think this is just a Facebook problem!! All social media platforms collect activity data on you, and if you don’t believe that, well frankly, you’re a little naïve.
You cannot control what others do, but you can control your thoughts and actions. So take a deep breath, think like a business advertiser who needs this information, and change your social media strategy to a valuable customer service & relationship building strategy. Show your customers you care more about them than your bottom line, and you’ll see why using social media for business is so powerful!!
In the end, it’s in Facebook’s best interest that businesses succeed, so don’t panic – we’ll be alright!!