After the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Facebook where user data was illegally accessed and logged, as well as the subsequent revelation that the Facebook Messenger app has been logging all calls and messages made on users’ Android phone, you would have thought that users would perhaps exit the otherwise popular social media network. However, as the latest data suggests, that is absolutely not the case.
According to data compiled by strategic marketing consultancy firm Kepios, Facebook’s monthly active users (MAU) data for March 2018 actually indicates that very few people, if at all, have actually deleted Facebook.
In the top 10 countries based on Facebook’s popularity, the social network has seen a growth in nine compared with usage statistics of January 2018, while it has retained exactly the same MAU base in one—Brazil. The countries where Facebook has grown include India (12% growth), US (4.3%), Indonesia (7.7%), UK (4.5%) and Vietnam (7.3%).
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Admittedly, these numbers could be somewhat skewed by the fact that many users may have simply logged into Facebook after the recent furore, either out of sheer curiosity or to adjust the privacy settings.
According to the app market data and insights company App Annie, while Facebook downloads saw a dip last week, they have picked up again and returned to the pre-Cambridge Analytica levels, across smartphone platforms.
In fact, while there was more of a dip in Facebook’s rankings on the Google Play Store for Android phones compared to Apple’s App Store for iOS devices—but it was back to the 5th rank on the Play Store, higher than the pre-scandal rating. Could this be a case of users deleting the Facebook app in a spur of the moment decision after reading up about the controversy, but returning to the social network soon enough?
Web intelligence platform SimilarWeb’s App Usage rankings suggest that over the past 30 days, Facebook has remained the most used app in the US and UK, on both Android and iOS platforms.
This is rather surprising, considering the perceived popularity of the #DeleteFacebook movement which has been trending on social media platforms such as Facebook ever since—the likes of the WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton and Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk have also waded into the debate, urging users to exit Facebook by deleting their accounts, business pages and more.
Social media analytics company Sysomos’s latest data suggests that as many as 400,000 tweets containing the #DeleteFacebook hashtag have been posted in the last month, with a majority of these posts coming in from users based in the US and UK.
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There are reasons why users are unable to really give up Facebook. For instance, there are small businesses that don’t always have large budgets to build and maintain websites as well as use more traditional methods of advertising to reach out to customers—the social media network gives them a wider audience. There are detailed business tools that Facebook offers, such as Facebook at Work, which corporates (and thus their employees) would have signed up for to use daily.