Facebook privacy: Survey suggests continuing US loyalty

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Facebook privacy: Survey suggests continuing US loyalty

Most Facebook users in the US remain loyal, despite the recent data sharing scandal involving a political consultancy firm, a poll suggests.

Facebook admitted last month that the data of 87 million users had been improperly shared with the UK-based firm, Cambridge Analytica.

The Reuters/Ipsos survey found no clear loss or gain in use since then.

A quarter of Facebook users said they used it less or had left it but another quarter said they used it even more.

The remaining half said their use of the network had not changed.

However, the survey was limited to the US and analysts are waiting to see how the social media giant’s sales perform in the second quarter, when the scandal was at its height.

In the first quarter, its sales rose by nearly 50%, with profits reaching $4.9bn (£3.6bn) compared to $3bn last year.

Conducted online, the Reuters/Ipsos survey questioned 2,194 American adults between 26 and 30 April. The poll has a margin of error of three percentage points.

Some 64% percent said they used Facebook at least once a day, down slightly from the 68% recorded in a similar poll in late March, soon after the Cambridge Analytica story broke.

Asked if they were aware of their current privacy settings, 74% of Facebook users said they were, and 78% said they knew how to change them. Among Twitter users, this was 55% and 58%, while for Instagram users, it was 60% and 65%.

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Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told Reuters that Facebook had been lucky the data was apparently used only for political adverts and not anything more sinister.

“I have yet to read an article that says a single person has been harmed by the breach,” he said.

There was no immediate comment from Facebook, which apologised for the data scandal and acted to rein in third-party apps using its data.

Accused of using Facebook users’ personal data to sway the outcome of the US 2016 presidential election and the UK Brexit referendum, Cambridge Analytica announced this week it was closing down

Facebook said its own investigation into the company’s use of its data would continue.

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