A new study suggests that the slew of social media-related scandals coming to light in recent months may finally be enough to combat the scourge of digital addiction saddling our society. Edelman, the public relations consultancy firm responsible for the study, surveyed people across nine different nations as part of its contribution to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France. The results were somewhat astounding:
“Forty percent of those surveyed had deleted at least one social media account in the past year because of privacy concerns and 62 percent wanted more regulation of such platforms.”
The study was conducted in the wake of serious privacy concerns regarding the security of data as well as the propensity for sites like Facebook to serve as vehicles for the circulation of “Fake News”.
The company and its infamous CEO Mark Zuckerberg first landed on the hot seat following the 2016 election of Donald Trump after it was found that Russian organizations had successfully utilized the social network as a means to strategically disseminate divisive news articles and made-up stories designed to segment the American populace and cause political unrest. Although Facebook was an unwitting partner in the election interference, it’s still not a good look.
To make matters worse, in March of this year it was revealed that a “voter-profiling company” known as Cambridge Analytica had also done some shady sh*t on Facebook. According to a New York Times report,
“the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission…the breach allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016.”
Although Facebook has since tried to make amends—including through the institution of stricter data protection policies—it’s no wonder that these coinciding bombshells have begun to catch up with the site, as well as seemingly spreading distrust in social media more generally.
It’s probably for the best.