Almost Half of Young Facebook Users Have Taken A Break From the Platform

September 24, 2018

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Customer-Centric | Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Privacy & Security | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

Some 42% of Facebook users ages 18 and older report having taken a break from checking the site for several weeks or more at some point in the past year, according to survey results from the Pew Research Center. That includes a high of 47% of users ages 18-29, per the study.

The survey, which was fielded in late May and early June (a couple of months after the Cambridge Analytica story had broken), reveals a seemingly higher degree of discomfort with Facebook among its younger than older users.

Although there wasn’t a huge age gap in terms of taking a break from the site (4 in 10 users ages 65 and up also had), there were considerable differences in other actions taken.

Fully 64% of 18-29-year-olds Facebook users, for example, reported having adjusted their privacy settings on the platform within the previous 12 months. That was roughly double the share (33%) of users ages 65 and older who reported having done so.

Younger users were also far more likely to say they had deleted the app from their phone. While 1 in 4 Facebook users overall said they’d done so, that figure jumped to 44% among 18-29-year-olds, almost 4 times the rate of the oldest bracket (12%).

The results continue what has been a steady run of difficult news for the social networking giant as relates to youth. That has been most true for teenagers, who have drastically shifted their preferences from Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat in recent years, leading one firm to question if teen use of Facebook had peaked.

Meanwhile, the latest Pew survey turns up another ominous sign for Facebook: it appears that users who know how much data the platform holds on them are more willing to take adverse actions.

Indeed, the survey found that while only 9% of Facebook users had downloaded the personal data available about them, close to half (47%) of them had deleted the app from their phone (almost twice the average) and 79% had adjusted their privacy settings (versus 54% overall).

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 3,413 Facebook users ages 18 and older.

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