Are people still accessing Facebook in your pub WiFi after the Cambridge Analytica scandal? The answer is – yes.


According to research by data collection experts Wireless Social, people have continued to use Facebook at exactly the same levels as prior to the personal data harvesting scandal.

The study shows that while levels did drop after the story, which revealed Cambridge Analytica had accessed tens of thousands of accounts, it has since recovered, illustrating people value social media usage above privacy issues.

It showed that across the 3,400 venues – including pubs and bars - which use Wireless Social, there was a decline of 3 per cent in users accessing Facebook during the height of the news story at the beginning of March.

But within seven weeks users had returned to the site, with logins to Facebook at 50 per cent across the Wireless Social venue network – the second highest figure reported by the firm.

The study also looked at opt-ins for marketing with new WiFi users per day. It showed that, providing the GDPR messaging is clear – and people know what their data is being used for, people are still happy to use pub WiFi.

Wireless Social's new user average remained consistent at 11 users per day, both before and after the scandal. In addition, 81 per cent of consumers are still happy to opt-in to receive marketing communications from their chosen venues.

Julian Ross, managing director of Wireless Social, said: "The Cambridge Analytica scandal in no way hindered the natural habits of consumers as the hype would like us to think. Some sources were talking about the downfall of Facebook – what our research shows is that Facebook is too powerful to stay down for long.

"The report also highlights to operators the important role GDPR plays on consumer behaviour. When it's been made clear that a platform is GDPR friendly, such as Wi-Fi logins and marketing opt-ins, consumers are more likely to agree to use them. We believe GDPR is great for the public and welcome 26 May with open arms."