Americans’ relationship with Facebook has shifted to “It’s Complicated”
More than 25 percent of millennials who use Facebook say they have deleted the app from their smartphones in the last 12 months, according to new data from Pew Research Center. About 42 percent of users say they have stepped away from checking Facebook for an extended period. And 54 percent say they have completely adjusted their privacy settings in 2018. With Facebook in crisis over data abuse and harvesting user information for corporate elites, Americans are fleeing the social media platform in more significant numbers.
The new study shows a growing backlash among millennials disillusioned with the negative aspects of social media technology, such as online abuse, fake news, and even figuring out that Facebook sells user data to corporate elites (notably Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica disaster).
The exodus is more widespread among young Facebook users than older ones: 44 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they deleted the Facebook app in the last 12 months, versus 12 percent of users in their golden years.
Facebook has faced a series of scandals in the last year, Americans were shocked to discover the social media company sold information on 87 million users to allegedly influence voter opinion on behalf of politicians who hired them.
“In the wake of the revelations about Cambridge Analytica, Facebook updated its privacy settings to make it easier for users to download the data the site had collected about them. The new survey finds that around one-in-ten Facebook users (9%) have downloaded the personal data about them available on Facebook. But despite their relatively small size as a share of the Facebook population, these users are highly privacy-conscious. Roughly half of the users who have downloaded their personal data from Facebook (47%) have deleted the app from their cellphone, while 79% have elected to adjust their privacy settings,” said Pew.
Over the last month, new concerns the company censored conservatives brought Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to Wednesday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Sandberg proclaimed that democratic values of free expression were essential to the company’s conscience. “We would only operate in a country where we could do so in keeping with our values,” she said.
Pew found that Republicans are no more likely to leave or take a break from Facebook as Democrats are:
“The poll found that nearly identical shares of Democrats and Republicans (including political independents who lean toward either party) use Facebook. Republicans are no more likely than Democrats to have taken a break from Facebook or deleted the app from their phone in the past year.”
With mounting scandals and massive amounts of young people fleeing the social media platform, it seems that Facebook’s daily active users for North America have peaked at about 185 million for four straight quarters. User growth has stalled, Facebook’s stock entered a bear market, and the entire social media complex is under government scrutiny, it seems the social media bubble is about to unravel.