Facebook users in the United States seem to be large unaffected by the data privacy scandal involving political consulting and data mining firm Cambridge Analytica. According to a poll conducted by Reuters, about half of all users confirmed that they hadn’t reduced the amount of time they spent on Facebook, and were indeed using the social media service as much as before. About one-quarter of all respondents suggested that they were using Facebook more than before the scandal.
The data suggests that despite the gravity of the data privacy scandal that surfaced last month involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the user base of the social networking giant seemed to be largely unaffected. It is suspected that more than 87 million users had their private Facebook data, likes and dislikes, and usage information leaked to the British firm.
The information is believed to have largely influenced the United States Presidential Election in 2016. GOP (Republican Party) candidate Donald Trump won the election by a small margin over Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, which was subject to massive polarization on the lines of immigration, race and religion issues. Cambridge Analytica is believed to have been working in the interests of the Trump campaign, and a lot of the user data captured illegally was used to target specific political ads to potential Republican voters on Facebook. The data mining firm has since shut down its operations.
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The remaining one-quarter of users polled suggested that they were using Facebook less, or had stopped using or deleted their accounts after the scandal, due to privacy issues. The aftermath of the scandal saw a movement emerge online using the hashtag #DeleteFacebook, which was aimed at driving users to worry about their privacy more and stop using the social network after the data breach. It now seems that the movement has had very little effect, with most users still using the service as much or more than before.