A new study conducted by Pew Research Center has found that Facebook might be losing its popularity, possibly owing to the multiple user data and privacy related fiascos that the social media giant found itself embroiled in these past few months.
The survey conducted by Pew Research in America found that a little over half of Facebook users ages 18 and older (54%) said that they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months. Around four-in-ten (42%) respondents said they took a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) said they have deleted the Facebook app from their phones. Around 74% of Facebook users surveyed in the US said that they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.
The findings come from a survey of U.S. adults conducted between May 29-June 11, a period of time after Facebook was under intense scrutiny for the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach in which data of millions of users of the platform was collected without their knowledge. The result was a #DeleteFacebook movement which saw many young and old users of Facebook quit the platform altogether. Over 5 lakh Indian users were also affected by the privacy breach, however, there are no concrete reports of waning interest in Facebook from users in India. Although, if a general observation of user activity on the platform were to be made, it can be seen that even in India, there is a decline in community engagement on the platform, while watching videos on it has become the new normal after YouTube.
“44% of younger users (those ages 18 to 29) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year, nearly four times the share of users ages 65 and older (12%) who have done so. Similarly, older users are much less likely to say they have adjusted their Facebook privacy settings in the past 12 months: Only a third of Facebook users 65 and older have done this, compared with 64% of younger users,” the study of US Facebook users noted. Losing its younger audience could be concerning for Facebook in the long run, while ignored privacy settings might spell trouble for the platform's users. However, Facebook still stands to benefit from its ownership of Instagram.
A lot of Facebook users can be seen flocking to Instagram looking for a politics and clutter free social media experience. According to SimilarWeb’s Android data, users spent an average of 53 minutes a day on Instagram in June this year, which is just five minutes lesser than time spent on Facebook in the same month.
Will this snowball into a mass Facebook exodus in the future? Well, a Facebook apocalypse is not likely to happen anytime soon given that the social media service is taking appropriate steps to protect user privacy. The platform may also need to refresh its format to keep users engaged in the long run.