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Facebook Users Say They Care Deeply About Privacy, but their Actions Indicate Otherwise According to New Data from Alpha


NEW YORK, NY Alpha, an on-demand user insights platform for the Fortune 500, today announced it has issued a new report covering consumer sentiment on personal privacy concerns in the wake of the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal.

As consumers are faced with a myriad of threats related to their personal information being used on social networks, the study showed that Facebook users are not ready to give up their free experience – even for a more private, paid version – and their concerns about personal data being used were mixed in nature.

“Much of what you read about related to Facebook’s privacy scandal remains focused on how much users are willing to pay for an ad-free experience, and what steps they will take over privacy concerns,” said Alpha founder and CEO, Thor Ernstsson. “Our data shows that users are clearly concerned, but it may not be anything that would provoke action from a price standpoint. People won’t pay for privacy and they also won’t leave for a lack of it.”

The results showed that the vast majority of users have concerns over privacy on social media with 94 percent indicating that they were at least somewhat concerned, but only 28 percent of respondents indicating they are extremely concerned and 6 percent indicating they are not concerned at all.

Free Matters to Facebook Users

According to the study, if provided a choice between the free product and paying a $1/month subscription for an ad-free experience, 8 out of 10 users (79 percent) said they would choose a free Facebook with ads, whereas only one in five (21 percent) said they were interested in a paying for an ad-free experience.

Additionally, when it comes to popular features like one-to-one messaging and seeing and registering for events, consumers were not enticed to pay any money for those services, where 84% said they would sooner leaver Facebook entirely than pay a $1 a month subscription for messaging, and 87% would rather leave than pay $1 to see and register for events.

People care about privacy, but it may not be an existential threat

Among the 28 percent that were extremely concerned over privacy, 48 percent of respondents were extremely concerned about having their identity stolen, while having location exposed to strangers 33 percent ranked second. For the 6 percent that were not at all concerned, having beliefs exposed to strangers (34 percent) and getting backlash for posts and views (33 percent) were the areas of most concern.

Facebook Has Staying Power

Despite the recent data and privacy scandals, Facebook remains one of the stickiest social networks. Here are the top sites in order of churn, in which survey respondents used, then stopped using:

  1. MySpace - 33 percent

  2. Twitter - 15 percent

  3. LinkedIn -10 percent

  4. Snapchat - 9 percent

  5. Instagram - 7 percent

  6. Facebook - 6 percent

  7. Pinterest - 6 percent

  8. Tumblr - 4 percent

  9. Friendster - 2 percent

Citing reasons why they decided to leave a social network, 1 out of 4 (24 percent) claimed it didn’t have the network of family and friends they wanted to engage with, while 18 percent said it didn’t have the features they wanted. Twelve percent claimed difficulty to use as the main reason, while only 7 percent cited privacy concerns. 

Alpha helps large enterprise customers like NBCUniversal, Pfizer, and Prudential run experiments and make data driven decisions about users, products and new markets. Data was collected via testing from Alpha using a sample of U.S. general population audience, screened for active Facebook users, starting April 13th and ending April 22nd reaching 1,772 people. For a copy of the full report you can visit this link. For more information about Alpha or to request a demo, please visit

About Alpha

Alpha is a platform that enables management teams to make data-driven decisions about users, products, and new markets. By streamlining and integrating the process of audience sourcing, prototype design, research templating, and analysis into one end-to-end experimentation platform, Alpha accelerates traditional 3-month iteration cycles down to 3 days - allowing established companies to be as nimble as startups. Thanks to a pool of roughly 90 million users, Alpha has immediate access to targeted testing populations, enabling highly relevant feedback on diverse product, marketing, and innovation challenges.

Alpha is advancing the discipline of product management and has developed a massive community around its industry-leading resources, including the podcast, This is Product Management, the Medium publication, Product Management Insider, and the video interview library, Alpha Exec Series.

Founded in 2014, Alpha already serves nearly one-third of the Fortune 100. The company is backed by Crosslink Capital, Calibrate Ventures, Spider Capital, and Cendana Capital. For more information, please visit

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