A new poll by Angus Reid Institute revealed that a majority of Canadians plan on changing the way they use Facebook after reports that voter-profiling firm Cambridge Analytica had illegally obtained the personal information of 50 million Facebook users. Particularly problematic was the fact that the open admission by the firm’s CEO, Alexander Nix, that the information was being used to sway voter opinions.
Meanwhile, 73 per cent of Canadians polled said that the news would make them change the way they used Facebook. Four-in-ten said they would check and change their privacy settings while a quarter said they would use Facebook less in the future. Around 10 per cent said they would either take a break from the social network or delete their accounts altogether.
Given that two-thirds of Canadians, 23 million people, have Facebook accounts, the overwhelming sense of wariness towards Facebook will undoubtedly be felt in the country.
Last week, Yahoo! News Canada asked its readers if they would delete their Facebook accounts over the latest data breach by voter-profiling firm Cambridge Analytica. The numbers were similar to what Angus Reid had reported. Four-in-five respondents, 80 per cent, said that they would delete Facebook over news of a huge data breach. Overwhelming majorities in every age group said that they would delete their accounts.
So far, the damage that Facebook itself will suffer remains unclear. But the company’s market capitalization has dropped by $49.5 billion since the start of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And now lawmakers in both the U.K. and U.S. want Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of government committees, adding further scrutiny to the social network giant.