Facebook is losing its luster with some of its customers, as Pew Research finds that a “significant” share of its users have changed their relationship with the social media network during the past year.
According to the report, 42 percent of Facebook users have taken a break from the platform during the past year, while 54 percent of those 18 and older told Pew Research they have adjusted their privacy settings during that timeframe. Meanwhile, 42 percent said they have taken a break from checking the platform for several weeks or more, while 26 percent said they deleted the Facebook app from their smartphone. Pew Research found that 74 percent of Facebook users have taken one of those actions during the past 12 months.
The research firm surveyed U.S. adults from May 29 through June 11, following news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the now defunct political consulting company accessed the information of Facebook users without their consent.
The survey also found that the majority of Republicans think that social media platforms in general censor political speech they don’t like, but an equal number of Democrats and Republicans use the social media network. Republicans aren’t more likely than Democrats to take a break from Facebook or delete the app, despite their view.
Among the users taking action to protect their privacy, Pew Research found that younger Facebook users are more likely to adjust their privacy settings or delete the Facebook app from their mobile phones. Of those between the ages of 18 to 29 — millennials — 44 percent said they opted to delete the Facebook app during the past year, which is close to four times the share of users age 65 and older that are deleting the app. The report stated that only one-third of Facebook users 65 and older have adjusted their privacy settings, compared to 64 percent of younger Facebook users.
The survey also found that since Facebook updated its privacy settings to make it easier for users to access the data Facebook has collected about them, only 9 percent have downloaded that data. Of the users that did download their data, close to half of them – 47 percent – have deleted the app, while 79 percent changed their privacy settings.