I’m sure you’ve heard by now of the Facebook exodus over the past few weeks in the latest movement to #DeleteFacebook … but in case you’ve been on a remote island, here’s the short version.
On March 17th, the New York Times and The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica pilfered data from 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge. This dates back to 2013 with a personality quiz app. We also learned that the data was allegedly used in the recent presidential campaign with targeted ads.
Why is this so important? Because trust in the 11 year-old King of Social Networks is being questioned by its 2 billion users. Many of them pledged to close their accounts permanently as a result of this news.
There’s growing evidence that public opinion of Facebook shifted even before the recent news, but on March 19th, #DeleteFacebook was trending on Twitter with users promising to delete the dominant social network and challenging their followers to do the same. Some may say they’re just looking for attention or trying to spark a conversation, but many are actually deleting their accounts. It isn’t clear how many accounts have been removed so far, but Facebook’s shares plummeted 2.5% the day the news broke out.
So now the question on everyone’s mind is, “how will this impact community?”
If you’re like many Community Managers, you have a Facebook Page or a Group for your community. It’s a free and easy way to quickly build community and reach a particular demographic of users. Perhaps you’ve already noticed a decline in your followers, which you may be attributing to the trend. But don’t jump the gun just yet –, you can’t be too sure until you continue to monitor your stats.
It certainly does raise some interesting questions, however. What’s the mission and purpose of your community? Do you need Facebook to achieve your goals? Maybe it’s time to survey your members and see what their thoughts are on the trend. You know what’s best for your community.
Finding the right platform for your community is a challenge, but you don’t have to depend on Social Media; there are many alternatives for building Communities. Take a look at other products such as Vanilla Forums, blogs or more complex tools like Salesforce etc. A fresh start (especially if your community is new) could be a fun challenge.
One thing’s for sure – this movement shows that brands don’t have full control over their community. If you give full control to a free 3rd party application such as Facebook, there are going to be potential risks.
While there are many pros and cons for having your community on Facebook, trying something new might prove more successful in the long run, if you have the time to and money to invest in it.
Some big names have already jumped on the #DeleteFacebook bandwagon, such as Elon Musk and Brian Acton, founder of WhatsApp (which was ironically bought by Facebook in 2014). What do they know that we don’t?
On March 23rd, Elon Musk was challenged to delete Facebook on Twitter, which he promptly did by having both the SpaceX and Tesla pages shut down. This was no small feat – each of those pages had millions of followers. I’m sure their Social Media Managers are sweating this week!
But let’s all relax and take a moment to collect our thoughts. Social Media isn’t going anywhere. We’ll definitely see big changes this year with security and new Networks will capitalize on the trend by launching.
Who remembers MySpace? Facebook usage will ebb and flow over time and you’ll ultimately need to make the call as to what’s best for your community based on your own insights and gut instincts.
About our writer
Ilanit Manor has been in community management for 8 years in the gaming industry. She has worked on fun titles such as Pioneer Trail, FarmVille 2: Country Escape and CastleVille. She has a passion for gaming and her goal is to make sure that players' voices are heard. When she's not working or playing games, she is a a hobbyist photographer who loves to travel and see the world through her camera.