Thursday, May 20, 2010

Poll: 100% Think the Internet Evolution Facebook Poll is a Crock

Within certain circles, the major topic of conversation is Facebook's privacy changes, and news that this person or that person is leaving Facebook as a result. This is truly a hot topic within certain circles, but will it have any true effect on Facebook?

I was musing about this when I saw the following headline:

Poll: 36% Say They're Done With Facebook

Now if this poll was conducted with a representative sample of the population, it would truly spell disaster for Facebook. So I figured I'd better click through to the article and read it.

Once you get past the headline, you find out that the poll was a poll of Internet Evolution readers. To be more precise, nearly 150 Internet Evolution readers. And Nicole Ferraro admits that the poll is decidedly unscientific.

So why are Internet Evolution readers so negative about Facebook? Let's start with the question that was asked:

When will you deactivate your Facebook account?

Now I'm not a professional pollster, but I suspect that this question might violate a standard or two that are used by professional pollsters. So I'm going to conduct a poll of the authors of the Empoprise-BI blog. The question:

How badly formulated was Internet Evolution's poll question on Facebook deactivation?

100% of all respondents chose the option "It blew major massive monkey chunks."

Enough levity. Ferraro arrived at the 36% figure by adding up the responses "I already deactivated it," "Within the year," and "Within the month." The "Within the year" group is the largest group, with over 20% of the total responses. Clearly within this circle, people are thinking about making a move.

Ferraro did some other research, and the only other significant data point that she could find was one cited in Inside Facebook, which noted:

For example, the search term “how do” on leading search engine Google now shows the algorithmically-determined phrase “how do i delete my facebook account.” Sites that provide answers to that question are seeing lots of new traffic.

(Note to self: join bandwagon and write "How to delete Facebook account" post.)

Ferraro also notes that the wonderful guardian of our country's business, the United States Congress, is also getting into the act. Yes, when the U.S. Congress isn't investigating baseball players on steroids, they're weighing in on a private firm's privacy policy. Senator Chuck Schumer is urging people to post this as their Facebook status:

Facebook should stop sharing my personal info with outside companies without my permission. If you agree, set this as your status today and join this group:

The link resolves to, which is a Facebook group called "Petition: Facebook, respect my privacy!" that was started by and has over 100,000 members.

Of course, if you've deactivated your Facebook account, you can't join. And if the group has set up its preferred privacy controls, you can't see it.

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