Younger Americans are deleting the Facebook app, adjusting privacy in wake of Cambridge Analytica

Facebook users in the US admit to taking steps to reframe their relationship with the social media platform, according to Pew.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Nearly 75 percent of Facebook users in the US have distanced themselves from the social networking site following the controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that harvested and misused data from Facebook profiles to predict how people would vote at the ballot box.

The controversy triggered congressional and parliamentary inquiries and investigations worldwide, and forced Facebook to introduce stronger privacy practices. Nearly six months on, we're now able to see how some Facebook users took steps to reframe their relationship with the social media platform.

Also: Why Facebook is powerless to stop its own descent

According to new data published by the Pew Research Center, more than half of users (54 percent) have adjusted privacy settings; around 42 percent have taken a break from Facebook of at least a few weeks; and around a quarter (26 percent) said they had deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone.

All told, Pew found that 74 percent of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.

Most notably, Pew's research also suggests that younger people are disproportionately more likely to have deleted the Facebook app as compared to older users. Around 44 percent of younger users between the ages of 18 to 29 said they deleted the Facebook app -- that's nearly four times the rate of users aged 65 and older who did the same.

TechRepublic: Cambridge Analytica: The future of political data is in the enterprise | Cambridge Analytica: 'We know what you want before you want it' | Election tech: The truth about the impact of political big data

Similarly, older users are less likely to have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months. Pew said only a third of Facebook users 65 and older adjusted privacy settings while 64 percent of younger users had done so. What's amusing with that statistic, however, is that Facebook users over the age of 65 probably don't have the faintest idea how to adjust their privacy settings in the first place. But I digress.

Pew released its Facebook findings the same day Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are set to appear before lawmakers on Capitol Hill to defend their social media platforms.

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