According to a report published by The Guardian newspaper, there has been a sharp drop in the usage of Facebook over the past year even though the company has claimed that its rate of usage by users is continuing to grow when measured by other indicators.
According to the business analytics firm Mixpanel, there was a drop of almost 20 per cent in the number of actions on Facebook such as likes, shares and posts in the month of April of 2018 – the first full month since the breaking of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the Observer.
If the data of that month is taken to be the baseline, there was a drop of 10 per cent in a month in total actions. It recovered somewhat during the summer but again dropped over the autumn and winter of 2018. There was a brief period of exception to this trend during the time of the midterm elections in the United States.
That decline in the usage of largest social; media platform of the world also happened at the same time that the company was pulled up for a number of data, privacy and hate speech incidents. The company reported a breach in September last year that affected a total of more than 50 million accounts of the platform and in November, Facebook also admitted that a PR firm to attack the philanthropist George Soros was hired by an executive of the company. The company has also been criticized repeatedly for allowing the platform to be used to fuel ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.
However, the company claims an increase in the daily and monthly active users (DAUs and MAUs) for the ending March 2019, according to its own statistics which denote the number of users who log on to the site at least once in the respective periods.
The company claimed that it had averaged 1.56 billion DAUs in March up 8 per cent on March 2018, it said in it’s latest quarterly earnings report. Facebook also said that there was a a 8 per cent year on year increase in its MAUs.
It is possible to reconcile the two sets of numbers. According to inferences based on anecdotal reports over the past year, there has been a reduction in the usage of Facebook by many users while many have also either deleted their Facebook accounts or stopped logging on after the unearthing of the data privacy and security scandals.
A decline in Facebook usage in the US was reported by the market research firm eMarketer earlier this month. The report stated that compared to 41 minutes spent on Facebook every day in 2017 by a typical Facebook user, the same users spent an average of 38 minutes a day on the site in 2018.
“On top of that, Facebook has continued to lose younger users, who are spreading their time and attention across other social platforms and digital activities,” eMarketer said.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)