You’d have to pay the average Facebook user over $1,000/year to stop using it

The #deletefacebook tag may have been trending in the light of various privacy concerns, but the evidence is that Facebook addiction is stronger than some like to admit. Back in September of last year, some 26% of Facebook users polled claimed to have deleted the app from their phones – but analytics data showed otherwise …

A new study shows just how hard it is to give up Facebook: on average, a user would need to be paid well over than $1,000 a year to do so.

ArsTechnica reports on a joint study involving researchers from four different universities.

The paper started out as two separate studies. Jay Corrigan, an economist at Kenyon College, and his collaborator, Matt Rousu of Susquehanna University, were interested in a session on this topic at an upcoming conference. They discovered that Sean Cash (Tufts University) and Saleem Alhabash (Michigan State University) were doing something very similar.

Since the design of both studies was so complementary, they decided to combine their data and results into a single paper. Cash and Saleem had a larger sample for their part of the study and looked at a longer time period of one year, while Corrigan and Rosein focused on shorter time frames, asking subjects to quit Facebook for one day, three days, or seven days. The studies nonetheless had similar results.

To ensure that respondents were telling the truth about their Facebook addiction, the whole thing was real: participants really did have to give up Facebook use, and they really were paid.

The study found that you’d have to pay an average of $4.17 for someone to give up Facebook for a day, and $37 for a week. For a year, it depended on the demographic, with results ranging from $1,139 to $2,076 – with students needing to be paid more than adults.

We found that consistently, on average, people would have to be paid more than $1,000 a year to go without Facebook.

Of course, the study wasn’t suggesting Facebook could charge anything like this – any attempt to do so would create demand for a replacement service – but it does show why the social network has been so resilient in the face of a series of privacy concerns. In the most recent one, Facebook had to explain why Netflix and Spotify were seemingly given access to user messages.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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