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End of Facebook Near? 60% Ready to Dump Site

A recent poll conducted by Abingdon, U.K.-based Sophos questioned 1,600 Facebook users and discovered that privacy issues were pushing away over 60-percent of the social website's population. The number consists of 30-percent that are finding it highly likely that they will close their account due to the surrounding privacy issues, and an additional 30-percent saying it was a possibility. 16-percent have already packed up and moved out.

But there's still some hope. 12-percent of the respondents said they wouldn't leave the site, and another 12-percent said it's "not likely" that they'll close their Facebook account. In the overall picture, that's a small number of users willing to stay behind, and indicates a possible end of the popular social website if something isn't done to make Facebook users feel more secure.

Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant, said that people who work in the IT security field are even more wary about jumping on Facebook than the general consumer, finding it hard to justify the need. "The number of privacy problems are making more people realize that it may not be where they want to be," he said. "Of course, some people may simply reduce the amount of data that they publish on the site rather than quit. The average guy on the street, meanwhile, will probably need a bigger push to quit the site."

He also added that many users may have difficulty quitting cold turkey, as they've grown addicted to posting updates, uploading pictures, chatting live with friends, and so on. While Facebook is working on cleaning up its security mess, the recent poll indicates that the initial first love has worn off and users care more about their privacy than socializing on an unsecured website.

"I think Facebook needs to fundamentally change its attitude towards privacy, putting the needs of its users first and foremost rather than its balance sheets," Cluley said.