Do we really care about the Facebook data scandal or is there too much hype

posted by Brian Mudd - 

Do we really care about the Facebook data scandal or is there too much hype? 

Bottom Line: Given the extensive attention paid to the Facebook data scandal it'd be easy to suggest that the story has been overplayed. That's often the case when a story blows up the way the Facebook story has. For most Facebook users however...it's not hype. Gallup just wrapped up the first credible research on the topic since Zuckerburg's Congressional testimony and most are concerned. What's more is that many are just as concerned about other companies and what they're tracking about us online.  

Here's the first big number and takeaway. 80% of Facebook users are concerned about Facebook's practices with 55% being very concerned. These numbers are the highest yet. Meaning that rather than becoming less concerned as the story has grown and Facebook's attempted to alleviate concerns, it's actually gotten worse. I'm not surprised as I've mentioned that the biggest revelation to most users isn't likely the use of their information for profit purposes...it's the extent of the information being collected. As I highlighted a couple of weeks ago, there are 70 different categories of information Facebook collects on all of us. If you download the information, which you're able to do, it is actually a bit shocking. Once you realize that even if a friend of a friend of yours on Facebook tagged you with some type of message that you never even saw from ten years ago and its part of what's stored in a file with your name on it... Your perspective about what Facebook's really up too changes a bit. What's more is that we're opening our eyes up to other possibilities. 

As I cited immediately after the story broke - Facebook is the world's top user of data brokering but Google is a close second (with Microsoft third and Amazon fourth and rising fast). This isn't lost on Google users as 82% of Google users are concerned about what they're tracking and storing with 57% being very concerned. So, while they're not in the news for a data scandal at the moment, people are more concerned about what Google's doing than Facebook! So other than most of us being leery about what these companies are doing with our digital lives what does it all mean?  

It does likely mean they'll be regulation and changes coming. With so many Americans concerned and a midterm election cycle upon us - it's a classic setup for politicians to get involved. What will they do? To be continued... 

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