"Quit Facebook Day" came and went Monday, and you may notice this morning that "your friends list will still largely be intact," says Dan Fletcher in Time. The "Quit Facebook Day" protest website claimed that 31,000 people had pledged to drop out in a show of anger over Facebook's privacy problems, an infinitesimal sum compared to the site's more than 400 million users. One survey by interactive research firm Vision Critical projected that no more than 2 percent of American account holders had any intention of quitting. (Watch a Reuters report about "Quit Facebook Day" hype.) Here, three theories why the protest flopped:
1. Facebook's new privacy rules sapped the protesters' strength
Although "Quit Facebook Day" agitators made the case that Facebook's privacy settings were abusively complex, a few days before the protesters' planned exodus, says Ian Paul in PC World, Facebook responded by "making it simpler for users to control their privacy." The three big changes — consolidating privacy controls on one page, letting people block others from seeing their profile, giving users the ability to opt out of the platform delivering games and other activities — probably helped soothe many angry Facebook users.
2. Facebook has become a necessity people are reluctant to do without
People depend on services like Facebook to keep in touch with their networks, says Jennifer Leggio in ZDNet, so they're not "willing to vote with their feet" and go elsewhere. There was never much chance this "online tantrum" would turn into a mass exodus. Many of the people complaining about Facebook's privacy policies turn around and happily chat on public Twitter feeds. If they wanted privacy, they would be more private. And if they were "serious about a boycott," they would just do it, "and then try to bring others to follow them."
3. People are taking privacy into their own hands
The majority of Facebook users are aware of the site's problems, says Benny Evangelista at the San Francisco Chronicle, so, after a certain amount of venting, they're taking charge of their profiles and sticking around on their own terms. In the same Vision Critical poll, 81 percent said they had started using Facebook more carefully, and 76 percent said they had stopped sharing as much personal information as before.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- 11 facts yü should know about the umlaut
Subscribe to the Week