Despite Facebook’s data scandal with Cambridge Analytica, the number of people that are using social media platforms increased by more than 100 million during the first quarter of 2018.
According to an analysis by TheNextWeb, as of the end of March there were 3.3 billion people around the globe using social media. This comes as Facebook is reeling from a data scandal that has made privacy front and center. In mid-March Facebook revealed that Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm, accessed data on 87 million users without their consent. That has resulted in a steep sell-off in shares of Facebook and the appearance of the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg before Congress. Nevertheless, many people aren’t concerned about their privacy, with millions opening new accounts on social media.
Helping the growth rates was the fact that the number of people new to the internet increased by 276 million during the first three months of the year, according to TheNextWeb. Meanwhile, there are now more than 5 billion with a mobile device, with many owning a smartphone that gives them access to the Internet — and thus social media. TheNextWeb said mobile users increased around 2 percent for the year ending in March. In terms of social media usage, 389 million accessed it via a mobile device in the first quarter, marking a new record. That increase, which TheNextWeb pegged at 14 percent, pushed the number of social media users to 3.087 billion at the start of the current second quarter.
For the first quarter, TheNextWeb noted 390 million new users became social media customers, which is 8 percent faster than they did in the fourth quarter. “These trends mean that well over a million people are still signing up to social media for the first time every day — that’s about 12.4 new users every second,” wrote the Internet publication. “The Cambridge Analytica affair doesn’t seem to have affected growth trends in Facebook’s overall user numbers.” TheNextWeb reported Facebook has 3.2 percent in monthly active users since the beginning of this year with its internal tool showing the platform has 2.234 billion global users as of March, which it said means 67 million have joined the platform in the last three months.