‘Facebook Privacy’ Searches Plummet

Privacy concerns on Facebook have caused a great deal of furor over the last couple of months. The social network has been gradually amassing a great deal of criticism and it has sought to address these issues and has updated its privacy policy.

Certainly, according to Search Engine Land*, the search query “how do I delete my Facebook account” had a worldwide peak in May, with the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada garnering the highest levels of interest. The query was in the pole position for “how do I…” on Google Suggest for most of May. May 31 was declared “Quit Facebook Day” but by that date, only 30,000 out of the almost half a billion users had pledged to do so.

Was this all sensationalism driven by the various news and social media channels, or did users really want to shake off the Facebook bug?

Looking at search interest for “delete Facebook” in the U.S., how you voted in the last election may have influenced your search habits on the Facebook account deletions, as illustrated here:

U.S. Regional Interest for “delete Facebook” — May 2010, data from Google Insights for Search

U.S. 2008 Electoral College

Interest in “Facebook login” has decreased by 18 points from its peak in mid-April. In the same period, queries related to deleting accounts and quitting, peaked in mid to late May but have since nose-dived.

Also, as a measure of how users may be engaging with the social network platform, interest in Facebook group and fan page creation is decreasing month on month. Furthermore, interest in the popular game “Facebook Farmville” has dropped by 60 points from its peak in January.

With this reduction in interest to engage, are users really leaving Facebook? Possibly, but not in droves. Search interest in “Facebook” dipped by only four points, but daily unique visitor numbers continue to rise and, according to Google Trends, have now edged well above the 200 million mark.

It just may be that the Facebook bug isn’t easy to get rid of. Also, this trend suggests that there’s still a great deal more love for Facebook.

Interestingly, “how do I delete my Google history” has knocked “how do I delete my Facebook account” off the top spot on the “how do i…” Google Suggest league table. Searchers may have moved on.

It’s also interesting that search interest in “privacy” in the Computers & Electronics category is actually at an all time low.

Data from Google Insights for Search

The hype surrounding privacy concerns covered in the blogosphere may just have fueled the increase search interest in “Facebook privacy”. A related trend for “internet privacy” and “email privacy” further illustrates just how users are becoming less interested.

Search interest in this will increase only when there’s a public outcry from media pundits. Until then, we’ll carry on with our online lives, increasingly getting relaxed with online privacy.

*post edited 16th June to credit original source of the investigation.

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