For about how much money would you delete your Facebook account? With the very real and well-documented cases of social media addiction on the rise, even despite the company’s recent stint of security snafus and highly-publicized data scandals, the answer for the majority of average users is an amount greater than $1,000 per year.
That’s according to the results of a recent PLOS study conducted by researchers with four leading post-secondary institutions, including Sean Cash (Tufts), Saleem Alhabash (MSU), Jay Corrigan, an Economist affiliated with Kenyon College, and his colleague, Matt Rousu, of Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna University.
How Much Is Social Media Worth?
In their extensive report, dubbed “How much is social media worth? Estimating the value of Facebook by paying users to stop using it”, the researchers not only reveal how hard it is for users to actually give up using the social media platform but suggest that users would, “on average”, stop using their Facebook account altogether if given a nominal daily cash incentive.
“Though the populations sampled and the auction design differ across the experiments, we consistently find the average Facebook user would require more than $1,000 to deactivate their account for one year,” the researchers claimed, ultimately concluding that while Facebook’s impact on the economy may be minimal, its perceived value, to the majority of its users, is still quite high.
Method-wise, participants in the study were actually required — and were actually compensated, in cash — for deleting their Facebook accounts, which was done to ensure truthfulness and transparency in study participants’ self-reported status as a Facebook addict.
Interestingly enough, what the researchers actually discovered is that an “average user” would give up Facebook if paid $4.17 per day, or $37 per a week.
And while that total, over the course of a year, comes out to $1,924 — depending on variables like age demographics, for example, expected annual payouts among study participants ranged between $1,139 and over $2,076 – with college-aged students reportedly requesting more cash incentive to forego Facebook than their adult-aged constituents.
Ultimately, the purpose of this study was to determine (sampling a variety of users belonging to a variety of demographic groups) the perceived value of having and actively using it on a daily basis — not to suggest that Facebook would ever pay users to can their accounts.
Still, as Facebook forges ahead even amid these brand-smearing data, security and major publicity flubs — these findings are, at the very least, telling. The results certainly explain why the social network has maintained its popularity, not only amid all its recent scandals but also considering how so many Silicon Valley-area employees have ditched their accounts already.