In the months of May and June, the Pew Research Center surveyed over 4,500 American adults, and found that the majority have taken action to reduce their Facebook usage.
With 54% having adjusted their privacy settings, 42% have taken a break from checking Facebook for several weeks or more, and 26% have deleted the app from their phone all together. Some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions at some point in the last year.
Part of the reason less and less people are using the social media site may have something to do with the revelation that British data company, Cambridge Analytica, had exfiltrated personal data from Facebook which it used to manipulate both British and American voters.
Facebook said in a statement to The Washington Post that users manage their information using the app’s privacy controls. “Over recent months we have made our policies clearer, our privacy settings easier to find and introduced better tools for people to access, download, and delete their information. We’ve also run education campaigns on and off Facebook to help people around the world better understand how to manage their information on Facebook.”
Since this revelation, Facebook has continued to be front and center in many controversies regarding manipulation and misinformation on its platform both in the United States and abroad.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, testified in front of a Senate committee on Wednesday about how foreign governments are using social media to spread propaganda.
Pew, in a separate survey found that 72% of the public believes it is likely that social media platforms actively censor certain political views that those companies find objectionable.
“The vast majority of Republicans and Republican leaners (85%) think it likely that social media companies engage in this behavior, with 54% indicating they find it very likely. A smaller share of Democrats – though still a majority, at 62% – also think it likely that social media companies engage in this behavior.”-Pew
The tech sector had its worst single-day decline since late July on Wednesday, while Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. executives testified on Capitol Hill about online misinformation, which triggered an outsize drop in the Nasdaq.
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