Facebook users join call for regulation, survey finds

  • Most Facebook users think the platform will take steps to secure their personal data from misuse.
  • But they also support governmental regulation of the use of personal data on social media.
 Facebook employee holds an Android phone.
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A new voice is joining the call for regulating social media sites like Facebook: the users themselves.

Most Facebook users say they support some governmental regulation of the use and distribution of personal data on social media, according to a survey conducted exclusively for CNBC by Reconnect Research. Many also believe the company itself will take the steps necessary to secure their personal data.

The social media giant has been under fire for more than a week after revelations that users' personal data had been misused by Cambridge Analytica, a political analysis firm. Celebrities have publicly deactivated their accounts in the fallout and Apple CEO Tim Cook joined the scrum Wednesday, saying that privacy is a human right in an interview with MSNBC.

In the days since the initial reports, Facebook has rolled out a series of responses. CEO Mark Zuckerberg penned a response in a post on the social media site and the company simplified its privacy page, making it easier for users to access.

Reconnect's survey results suggest that users believe that's a step in the right direction.

"I think people are basically optimistic," said Scott Richards, CEO of Reconnect. "They're optimistic that the company will do anything they need to get it right."

While a majority think the platform's actions will help secure their data, 84 percent said they're more concerned about their personal data now than they were a year ago. The survey also showed that despite the public outcry, some users have actually increased their use in the past week, possibly logging in to check their personal security settings.

Results are based on the responses of 616 Facebook users living in the United States who participated in a phone survey by Reconnect Research conducted between March 23 and March 28, 2018. Respondents were randomly selected. The survey had a margin of error of about 4 percentage points.

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