Mark Zuckerberg Says ‘Delete Facebook’ Protests Had No Meaningful Impact on His Business

Bad news Facebook users who ditched the social network in protest following the Cambridge Analytica scandal: CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes the viral movement that urged fans to abandon the platform had little meaningful effect.

Last month, a Twitter-led campaign using the hashtag #DeleteFacebook was fueled by comments made by SpaceX chief Elon Musk and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who both made headlines after speaking in favor of the exodus.

But Zuckerberg remains at the helm, and he says that user statistics remain strong.

“I don’t think there has been any meaningful impact we’ve observed,” he said in relation to the anti-Facebook push during a Wednesday briefing set up to answer questions on privacy, data collection and the abuse of his website by propaganda.

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks onstage during the annual F8 Facebook Developer Conference in San Jose, California, on April 18, 2017. Zuckerberg believes the viral movement that urged fans to abandon the platform had little meaningful effect. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Even if the platform did not record user decline—it has not released numbers to the public—it’s clear that investors were initially spooked by the negative headlines.

In March, as the scandal first gained traction, TechCrunch reported that Facebook had lost around $60 billion in market capitalization when its shares dropped by 5 percent. At the same time, Google searches for “How to delete Facebook” were spiking, and at least three companies reportedly pulled advertisements from the social network.

On March 21, Zuckerberg penned an appeal to users. “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you,” he wrote.

But this week, the scandal deepened. Facebook alleged that Cambridge Analytica had obtained data related to 87 million users and revealed that most public profiles on the platform—which has two billion users—had been at risk of being “scraped” and hijacked by malicious actors. Another apology ensued.

Still, despite the news, share prices were trading up in premarket on Thursday after the CEO’s comments.

In his briefing, while answering a question by Recode’s Kurt Wagner, Zuckerberg acknowledged recent accusations had shaken the company. But he pledged to fight on.

“Look, it’s not good,” he said in relation to the optics surrounding #DeleteFacebook. “I don’t want anyone to be unhappy with our services or what we do as a company,” he added. “So, even if we can’t really measure a change and the usage of a product, or the business or anything like that, it still speaks to people feeling like this is a massive breach of trust and that we have a lot of work to do to repair that.”

According to Forbes, the Facebook founder has a real-time net worth of more than $61 billion and is currently listed as the seventh richest person on the planet. While the #DeleteFacebook protest movement made a lot of noise when it first launched, it still remains unclear exactly how many followed through on the pledge to leave. 

delete facebook app? A study from researchers at the University of Queensland shows that staying off of Facebook for five days can actually lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Yet despite the study, and the recent #DeleteFacebook movement, Facebook user statistics remain strong. Chanda Khanna/Getty Images

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