Hours after the revelation of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook began trending on Twitter. As Facebook faced investigation by lawmakers, as well as glaring scrutiny from the general public, the #DeleteFacebook campaign peaked last week when Brian Acton, a co-founder of WhatsApp, joined the movement.
Acton made a fortune from the $19 billion WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook in 2014, but he isn’t the first former Facebook beneficiary to turn against the company. Chamath Palihapitiya, Facebook’s former user growth chief and an early employee, had openly expressed regret for helping create the social media behemoth.
Both Acton and Palihapitiya have their own ventures today, but how do tech workers in general, including those working at Facebook, feel about the anti-Facebook movement?
To find the answer to this question, Blind, an online forum for tech workers, asked its users (mostly employees of tech companies, including Facebook) a simple question: Will Facebook’s data breach lead you to delete your Facebook account?
The poll, conducted from last Tuesday to Saturday, when internet search for #DeleteFacebook peaked, found that 31 percent of the 2,600 respondents said they will delete Facebook, while the remaining 69 percent said no.
At first glance, the denial rate for Facebook among tech workers is much lower than that of the general public.
A similar poll by Reuters and marketing firm Ipsos over roughly the same time period (last Wednesday through Friday) found that half of Americans don’t trust Facebook to “obey laws that protect your personal information.” The distrust rate for Facebook was significantly higher than its rival platforms, including Amazon (24 percent), Google (29 percent), Microsoft (28 percent), Apple (31 percent) and even Yahoo! (37 percent).
However, it’s worth noting that the distribution of Blind’s poll results are dramatically uneven across companies.
At Facebook, for example, only two percent of employees said they will delete Facebook. Indeed, it’s perfectly predictable that Facebook employees are the least likely to support #DeleteFacebook. Yet, two percent is still surprisingly low, considering that the survey was anonymous.
In fact, one Facebook employee felt so offended by the wording of the survey question that he/she posted on Blind, “I hope Blind gets sued calling this a data breach when it wasn’t one.”
When Facebook employees are excluded, the support rate for #DeleteFacebook averages higher and aligns closer to Reuter/Ipsos’ “distrust Facebook” rate.
Among tech companies where more than 50 employees responded to Blind’s questionnaire, half of Microsoft employees said they will delete Facebook; 46 percent of Snap employees, 40 percent of Uber, 38 percent of Google and 34 percent of Amazon employees said the same.