Facebook facing membership cancelling tirade, as users move against the site

News by Dan Raywood

An official day for cancelling membership to social networking site Facebook has been declared for the end of this month.

An official day for cancelling membership to social networking site Facebook has been declared for the end of this month.

Following yet another torrid week for the website, where it initially denied holding crisis talks over privacy yet is believed to be revising its settings to make them more simple, the site is now set to lose more members due to dissatisfaction and confusion.

The protest site QuitFacebookDay.com (http://www.quitfacebookday.com/) has begun pushing the idea of users leaving Facebook, and at the time of writing around 4,000 people had committed to quit.

In a recent poll by Sophos, 60 per cent of Facebook members have said that they are considering quitting over privacy. A poll of 1,588 Facebook users revealed the extent of member concerns over the popular social network's privacy settings.

The online survey showed that almost two-thirds of Facebook users are considering leaving, with 16 per cent of those polled claiming to have already stopped using Facebook as a result of inadequate control over their data.

Asked if they would quit Facebook over privacy concerns, 30 per cent said possibly, with another 30 per cent saying it was ‘highly likely' they would. Only 12 per cent said no and a further 12 per cent said that they did not think it was likely.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “This poll shows that the majority of users are fed up with the lack of control that Facebook gives users over their data. Most still don't know how to set their Facebook privacy options safely, finding the whole system confusing. What's needed is a fundamental shift towards asking users to 'opt-in' to sharing information, rather than to 'opt-out'."

This vision was shared by Chris Wysopal, CTO and co-founder of Veracode, who said: “A good user interface should be first, but what Facebook has done is so complex that even an expert cannot get it right. They need an application to scan the privacy settings but now it is not manageable. It needs its settings to say ‘not sharing information' rather than automatically opting in.”

Commenting on the ‘Quit Facebook Day', Cluely said: “A mass exodus from Facebook seems unlikely, but Facebook members are clearly getting more interested in knowing precisely who can view their data. People use Facebook to share private information and are unlikely to want their holiday snaps or new mobile number accidentally popping up all over the internet.

“With this survey showing that only 24 per cent of users aren't thinking about quitting, Facebook will need to make sure further changes to the privacy policy are clear, concise and in the interest of making it easier for members to know exactly who has access to whatever they chose to upload.”


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