In the wake of news reports that Facebook allowed more than 150 companies access to more users’ personal data than it had disclosed, the #deletefacebook campaign is heating up again. But will users really walk away from the social media platform? Probably not, says social computing researcher Casey Fiesler, an assistant professor of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder who has conducted research on why people stick with social media platforms in the wake of such breaches.
“This is only the latest of a long string of privacy scandals for Facebook, and there's no reason to think that this would result in a mass exodus any more than Cambridge Analytica did,” she said, noting that Facebook has become heavily integrated into both social and work lives. “I've found that many people either can't bear the opportunity costs of leaving Facebook, or they simply have a learned helplessness attitude when it comes to privacy. There are a lot of people for whom the benefit of Facebook is very high, and/or the cost of a privacy violation seems very low, particularly when they just assume that privacy is dead anyway.”
Fiesler, who also studies law and ethics around social media, can also discuss what kinds of information social media companies are allowed to share and with whom.