There’s more than 2.27 billion monthly users of Facebook — but since the company doesn’t charge for people to use its services, it can be hard to understand how much people actually value the service. However a new study has revealed that a Facebook user would need to be paid around $1,000 to deactivate their account for a year, while students would be willing to for an average of $200.
The study used three different samples, totalling 1,258 participants, in an attempt at quantifying the value Facebook users in the US place on the service. One sample involved Michigan State University students, another one people located near the university and one involved adults using Amazon Mechanical Turk and participants “bid” to be paid to give up their accounts, with the lowest “bid” winning.
People were able to choose the amount of time they wanted to deactivate their account for — with the mean payment for one hour being $1.84, $6.01 for a day, $15,73 for three days and $38.83 for a week. Then, in a second study of students, the mean bid for deactivating was $200, while the average amount was $2,076. Participants from Mechanical Turk bid a mean of $100, with an average of $1,921.
How much would it take to give up Facebook for a year
This study is helpful at explaining the paradox that we’re seeing as the amount of mistrust in Facebook grows, but there’s little evidence that people are actually jumping ship from the platform.
Reasoning for this sort of behaviour could be linked to numerous things — but most notably, the fact that millennials have grown up on Facebook, while older groups have gone without it for most of their lives. Someone in their mid-twenties would be more likely to use Facebook more often than someone in their early 40s, for instance.
The study isn’t the first time researchers used the “willingness to accept” method to determine the value of Facebook — MIT and University of Groningen researchers conducted a study using the same methods and found that people would prefer to lose access to Facebook for a year than to give up video streaming services.