Last week we asked our readers to take a poll about Facebook’s controversial social experiment on thousands of unknowing users.
Lots of you responded – more than 1,000 – and we received a lot of great comments on our post and on our Facebook page.
The results of our poll are by no means definitive, and it’s important to approach these results with appropriate skepticism – unlike a real scientific study, our poll sample is not randomized or controlled.
Still, there’s some interesting things we can glean from the results.
Mainly, it seems like our readers feel like Facebook has gone too far, but maybe not far enough to get them to stop using it.
Here’s what you said in answer to the question “Has Facebook’s privacy stance given you enough reason to quit?” (Figures rounded to the nearest whole percent.)
- 32% Maybe. I’ve tried to quit before. I can’t quit you Facebook!
- 26% No. It’s a service I signed up for knowingly. And it’s Facebook’s right to use my personal information how they see fit.
- 26% Are you kidding? I don’t use Facebook.
- 17% Yes. I’ve had enough! I’m deleting my account and don’t plan to reactivate it.
The top response – “maybe” – indicates that some Facebook users feel somewhat trapped, without a better option for the service Facebook provides (connecting with friends, keeping up with news, sharing interesting things), but dissatisfied with the way Facebook handles privacy.
Only 17% said they are ready to up and quit Facebook.
We heard from many of you who thought our poll was a little bit biased – even though the “yes,” “no,” and “maybe” options were all represented, the way we described possible answers didn’t exactly fit your way thinking.
As reader “Cathy” commented (and 55 more agreed with):
I think you are missing an option for your poll - No. But if it gets worse I will quit.
Admittedly, our poll should have included at least one more answer – “other.”
This is the dilemma for Facebook users too – not enough choices – because once you “opt in” to using Facebook, you have agreed to giving up control of your own privacy and the only way to really take it back is to quit.
Here are some of the other comments you made about what it would take to make you quit:
- “It’d take everyone I know jumping ship to something else …”
- “As soon as my son graduates …”
- “If I had my family close to me …”
- “One more baby picture will pretty much do it …”
Despite the occasional media reports about people who are “unplugging” or “going off the grid,” most of us want to stay connected to our circles online – and the other options look even worse.
If you don’t trust Facebook but you just can’t quit, then your best choice is to take as much control of your privacy as you possibly can.
Keep your timeline visible to friends only. Use caution with location and photo tagging.
And don’t give out more information about yourself – your religion, your sexual orientation, your “likes” – than you’re comfortable with Facebook and its advertisers knowing.
In this day and age, your privacy is yours to lose – so take care, and follow our Facebook privacy tips to stay as safe as possible.