Social networking giant Facebook today hosts around 15 million fewer people in the US than it did in 2017, with the biggest drop being among teen and millennial demographic. A new US-specific survey data compiled by market research firm Edison Research highlighted that Facebook’s user-base was shrinking, particularly in the coveted 12- to 34-year-old in America, which was once recognised as the most lucrative market for the platform.
“Edison’s survey signal that the social network’s privacy woes and continued breaches of user trust may be having some noticeable effect on its most coveted slice of users. Also, there’s conjecture about as Facebook has become more popular among older people, whether that’s affected younger people,” The Verge reported on Thursday.
Although one interesting element that was observed was that whole Facebook users are warming away from the app, they are flocking to Instagram. “The photo-sharing platform, which by its nature collects less personal information from its users, can be a simpler, less toxic alternative to using the main Facebook service, now overrun by ads and plagued by all manner of misinformation and fake news,” the report said.
Instagram now counts more than 1 billion global users and over 400 million monthly users of its Snapchat-like feature, Stories. Facebook’s biggest competitor is another one of its own products, and it seems unlikely the company will stop the shed of users anytime soon, the report added.
The decline in the user-base does not really come as a shock given that the platform has been pointed at several times for its practices of collecting user information without their consent for ad targeting and finding friends purposes which have outraged users and privacy advocates.
The company was pulled up on Tuesday over its secure login process two-factor authentication (2FA) where it asked users to add phone numbers, which could be searched by advertisers. The practice drew criticism even from Facebook’s former chief information security officer Alex Stamos.
Last month, Facebook reportedly decided to put an end to its unpaid market research programmes after it was found to have been bribing teenagers in India and the US to give their personal information.