1 in 4 Americans Deleted Facebook

The Washington Post
Published: 9/5/2018 11:47:50 PM
Modified: 9/5/2018 11:48:28 PM

Nearly three-quarters of American Facebook users have changed how they use the social media app in the past year, following a barrage of scandals involving the abuse of personal data, foreign interference in U.S. elections and the spread of hateful or harassing content on the platform.

The findings were released on Wednesday in a new survey by the Pew Research Center the same day that Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg testified before a Senate panel hearing to discuss how the company is combating foreign interference on the platform similar to Russian-tied efforts seen during the 2016 election.

The survey revealed that 74 percent of U.S. adult Facebook users have taken one of the following actions: changed their privacy settings, taken a break from the app or deleted it all together.

Pew found that more than 1 in 4 Americans have deleted the app from their phones. Fifty-four percent tweaked their privacy settings, and 42 percent stopped using the app for several weeks or longer. Those interventions also were much more likely to have been taken by younger people, who outpaced older users in each of the three actions. For instance, 64 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds changed their privacy settings in the past year, compared with 33 percent of people aged 65 and older.

Pew conducted the research between May 29 and June 11, surveying 4,594 people.

Facebook said in a statement to The Washington Post that users manage their information through the app’s privacy controls every day. “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.”

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