Facebook is haemorrhaging users as a quarter of Americans delete app
Facebook users are turning their backs on the social networking service more than ever before. New research conducted by the Pew Research Center has discovered that a whopping one in four Facebook users in the US have elected to delete the smartphone app.
Interestingly, the decision whether to delete the app rests considerably on age, with 44% of younger users (18-27) opting to delete the app, compared with a relatively meagre 12% of users aged 65 or over.
While some users haven’t gone quite that far, many more have tinkered with privacy settings amid a slew of data security scandals faced by the social media giant this year. Over half – 54% – of Facebook users aged over 18 have opted to tweak their privacy settings following the firm’s illicit sharing of consumer data with third parties this year.
Again, the decision to tinker with privacy settings was age-dependent, although this time there was a higher proportion of older users (in the 65+ age bracket) deciding to shore up security settings in the wake of recent events.
Although the research reveals that users are becoming increasingly security-conscious, Pew’s findings also relay that they’re not leaning on Facebook for information regarding data security. While the social media platform has ostensibly made its security policies more user-friendly, reception to this has been minimal; for example, users can now download a copy of the data Facebook has collected about them, but a relatively paltry 9% of users have opted to do this.
Another key way in which users are reducing their Facebook interaction is by taking a “digital detox” – in other words, opting to take a break from the site for several weeks or more. Users increasingly believe a stint off the social media platform to be beneficial for mental health, while basking in the knowledge that their consumer data is not being unnecessarily pilfered by Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild.
The Pew Research Center’s findings were gleaned from a studied group of 4,594 adults in the US, and research was conducted from 29 May to 11 June 2018. Methodology for the study can be found here.
While the UK lacks an equally comprehensive study, research conducted thus far has been illuminating. Back in April 2018, a study by WPP-owned Syzygy and intelligence firm Attest found that 1 in 20 Britons had deleted their Facebook accounts in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, revealing that 6% more said they intended to. What’s more, 67% of Brits replied that they felt either somewhat or extremely worried about misuse of personal data online, a perfect breeding ground for users to detach themselves – whether deleting the Facebook app or taking a sustained break – from the site.
Meanwhile, Pew’s study marks a landmark in the long-speculated-about fallout from Facebook’s indiscretions earlier this year, as dodgy data dealings with the cartoonishly villainous Cambridge Analytica landed Zuckerberg in front of the United States Congress. And though a public slap on the wrist was humiliating, it hardly delivered the tangible repercussions we so desperately wanted Facebook to, er, face. Watching its users turn – in myriad ways, and in drones – from the service delivers for many the sweet retribution we’ve so craved for so long.