Would you quit Facebook for $1,000?

Research shows that users would need to be paid over $100 per month to give up the social network

A user deleting the Facebook Android app

The average person would need to be paid more than $1,000 (~790) in order to deactivate their Facebook account for a year, according to recent research.

The study, published in scientific journal PLOS One, found that the social network is still extremely valuable - not just in terms of its share price, but to its users as well. "Our results provide evidence that online services can provide tremendous value to society even if their contribution to GDP is minimal," the researchers wrote.

In order to test how much Facebook's users valued it, researchers conducted auctions in which participants submitted bids of how much it would take to get them to deactivate their account. In order to prevent strategic bidding, the auctions were conducted using the 'second-price' method, where only the second-highest (or in this case second-lowest) bid would win the auction.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The winning bidder was paid by the researchers in exchange for proof that their account had been deactivated, in the knowledge that the researchers would be periodically checking their account.

Two groups of college students and one group of adults were tested using these auctions, with all three groups numbering between 122 and 138 people. One group of students was asked how much it would take for them to quit Facebook for one day, for three days, and for one week, extrapolating from their answers to find out how much it would take to get them to quit for one year. The other two groups were asked for the annual figure outright.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

In all three cases, the average annual figure was over $1,000, ranging as high as $2,076 for one of the student groups. Unsurprisingly, the adults proved more willing to give up the social platform, with an average bid of $1,139 for the year. Even so, this means that these users would need to be paid almost $100 per month before they'd sacrifice their Facebook accounts.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The researchers also tested a separate sample of 931 users via Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform, which yielded an annual average of $1,921 - although the researchers did not check whether the winners had deactivated their accounts following the auction.

The news of Facebook's enduring popularity may come as a surprise to some; the company has spent the past year mired in a series of seemingly never-ending scandals over issues including data privacy, leadership struggles, information warfare and more.

"Concerns about data privacy, such as Cambridge Analytica's alleged problematic handling of users' private information, which are thought to have been used to influence the 2016 United States presidential election, only underscore the value Facebook's users must derive from the service," the researchers stated.

"Despite the parade of negative publicity surrounding the Cambridge Analytica revelations in mid-March 2018, Facebook added 70 million users between the end of 2017 and March 31, 2018. This implies the value users derive from the social network more than offsets the privacy concerns."

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/marketing-comms/social-media/356361/stop-hate-for-profit-calls-on-facebook-to-address-hate-on-the
social media

Stop Hate for Profit calls on Facebook to address hate on the platform

6 Jul 2020
Visit/security/privacy/356321/facebook-flaw-gave-5000-developers-access-to-personal-data
privacy

Facebook flaw gave 5,000 developers access to users' data

2 Jul 2020
Visit/marketing-comms/social-media/356307/facebook-bans-violent-boogaloo-network
social media

Facebook bans “violent” boogaloo network

1 Jul 2020
Visit/marketing-comms/social-media/356275/facebook-ad-boycott-is-ready-to-go-global
social media

Facebook ad boycott is ready to go global

29 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/business/business-operations/356395/nvidia-overtakes-intel-as-most-valuable-us-chipmaker
Business operations

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable US chipmaker

9 Jul 2020
Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/hardware/components/356405/is-it-time-to-put-intel-outside
components

Is it time to put Intel Outside?

10 Jul 2020