On a day when its chief operating officer was on Capitol Hill this morning getting a grilling from DC lawmakers, Facebook is also the focus of a newly released Pew Research Center study that’s chock-a-block with negative trends for the beleaguered social giant.
Among the more attention-grabbing findings: More than 1-in-4 people have deleted the Facebook app from their phones, a figure that gets a lot higher when you focus just on 18- to 29-year-olds (44 percent of whom say they’ve done so). All told, 74 percent of Facebook users according to the Pew data say they’ve taken one of the following actions in the past year.
- adjusted their privacy settings
- taken a break from Facebook for at least a few weeks
- or deleted it from their phone altogether
Pew gathered these findings by surveying a group of U.S. adults between May 29 and June 11, so definitely with plenty of time for them to have formed opinions and changed their behaviors in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
“It’s certainly been a year of scandals for the social media behemoth,” reports TechCrunch about today’s survey findings, “which started 2018 already on the back foot already in the wake of Kremlin-backed election interference revelations — and with Mark Zuckerberg saying his annual personal mission for the new year would be the embarrassingly unfun challenge of ‘fixing Facebook.’
“Since then things have only got worse, with a major global scandal kicking off in March after fresh revelations about the Cambridge Analytica data misuse sandal snowballed and went on to drag all sorts of other data malfeasance skeletons out of Facebook’s closet.”
While there’s a bit of divergence in the Pew data between older and younger Facebook users, with the latter especially showing a particular ease with breaking away from the platform, it’s worth noting that the data isn’t showing much of a difference depending on if the user is a Democrat or Republican.
The Pew researchers found that Republicans, more so than Democrats, think the platform tends to censor political speech. One the arguments that also got wrapped up in Wednesday’s hearings that featured representatives of Facebook and Twitter — and even controversial broadcast firebrand and conspiracy-peddler Alex Jones, right there in the front row at the Senate hearing.
Still, according to Pew: “Despite these concerns, 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.”
The full results are available here.