40 Percent of Social Media Users Delete Accounts Over Privacy Concerns

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Thinking about deleting your Facebook account? You’re not alone.

A new study by public relations consultancy Edelman published Monday reveals that 42 percent of people recently surveyed had deleted at least one social media account in the past year due to privacy concerns, while 62 percent urged for additional regulation of such platforms over fear of fake news circulation. 

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The company surveyed 9,000 people in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the United Arab Emirates, UK and US.

Seventy percent of those surveyed revealed that they believe businesses and advertisers should press social media sites to remove offensive and fake content, while 48 percent of respondents said that brands should be blamed if their advertising involves hate speech or violent content.

"We learned that there is a serious lack of confidence in social media in all regions of the world. This is a cry from the heart; people are scared. They are outraged about the violation of their privacy and uncertain about the truth because of the plague of fake news," Edelman president and CEO Richard Edelman in an email statement to CNBC. 

Earlier this month, a glitch in Facebook privacy settings may have led 14 million users to unknowingly share personal posts with a wider audience than intended, the network's chief privacy officer said.

"We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts," Erin Egan said in a statement on June 8.

The US website said the bug affected posts made between May 18 and May 22 when Facebook was testing a new feature. 

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This is the latest in a string of mishaps at the social media giant after it came under fire over a scandal involving a UK consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, which illegally harvested private data to use it for political profiling.

In March, the US also put sanctions on St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency and its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin. The company was indicted by the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in February for allegedly Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election through the dissemination fake news stories.

According to Edelman, companies should be transparent about how they use social media and people's' data. In addition, businesses should also play a role in curbing racism and hateful content in order to rebuild user trust.

"Consumers believe brands can do more to solve [such issues] than government can," Edelman told CNBC.

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