March 20, 2018 4:47 pm
Updated: March 21, 2018 1:27 pm

Delete Facebook? Social media users weigh options amid data scandal

WATCH: Will you delete your Facebook after this latest data breach?

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Internet users are mulling whether they should get rid of their Facebook accounts in wake of reports that private data collected from the social media site was misused during the 2016 U.S. election.

READ MORE: Canada’s privacy watchdog raises ‘serious’ concerns over Facebook data scandal

Using the hashtag #DeleteFacebook, many wondered whether long-running concerns over Facebook privacy had reached a boiling point.

WATCH: Which apps have your data through Facebook?

The social media site is facing international backlash from weekend reports that the private information of more than 50 million users was accessed by a firm that worked on U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign.

Among those speaking out against the social media giant were some notable personalities, such as actor Kumail Nanjiani and Blink-182 band member Mark Hoppus.

LISTEN: Steps to take before deleting your Facebook account

University of Toronto assistant professor Alex Hanna, who studies social media and data collection, explained that while deleting Facebook is an option, it’s a little more complicated than that.

“It’s an option, it may mitigate the risk that Facebook users would be at, but I know that it’s not really a viable option for many people,” Hanna said, explaining that it has become a “primary source of communication” for people around the world.

WATCH: Facebook data reportedly misused to sway voters in 2016 election


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Many users also have years of memories and photos stored on Facebook that would be difficult to part with.

And, as The Guardian points out, cleansing an online presence on Facebook is even more difficult considering that other apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp are also part of the company.

READ MORE: Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie blocked from Facebook, Instagram

Several users added that simply deleting Facebook is not a solution to the internet’s privacy problem.

Other social media sites, and internet companies such as Google, also gather information on users.

Deactivating vs. deleting

Those considering deleting Facebook profiles were warned online that deactivating an account is not the same as getting rid of it completely.

READ MORE: How to choose what happens to your Facebook after you die

Permanently deleting an account is irreversible, and a completely new profile will have to be created if you choose to sign up again.

Deactivating a profile is more temporary, and information remains stored on Facebook.

WATCH: Are people actually spending less time on Facebook?

Staying on — but enhancing security

Those who are concerned about privacy, but don’t want to leave the site, can enhance their security by taking a look at the apps that can access profile information.

READ MORE: Here’s how to shut intrusive apps out of your Facebook account

“By default, a lot of your Facebook information is open to being shared with apps and platforms outside Facebook,” Gennie Gebhart, a researcher at the Electronic Freedom Foundation, explained.

He added that revoking access some apps have may remove some Facebook functions from accounts, but it may be worth it.

— With files from Global News reporter Patrick Cain

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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