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Attention Brands: Young Americans Are Breaking Up With Facebook

Any good relationship is built on trust. Whether it’s romance, friendship, or the personal leap you take when creating a social media profile, the expectation is the other party will respect the parts of yourself you chose to share with them. When they don’t, you have two choices: give them a second chance or leave.

Facebook’s relationship with some of its users has gone downhill since the 2016 presidential election. In March of 2018, Facebook messed up again. The social network is still recovering from its data scandal, after which it lost the trust of many of its users. Some people have opted to give Facebook a second chance after it promised to increase security and ensure nothing like this will happen again, but for many others, this breach was too grave of an impasse after all that’s happened the last few years.

A recent Pew Research study found that 54 percent of all Facebook users over 18 have increased their privacy settings, while 42 percent have taken a break from the platform for several weeks or longer.

These percentages increase in younger users, who are more likely to be over Facebook altogether. Forty-four percent of users between 18 and 29 have deleted the app from their phone, compared to 12 percent of users age 65 and above. Additionally, 64 percent of younger users have tightened their security, while only a third of the 65-and-up group felt the same need. Half of all users that downloaded the data Cambridge Analytica collected then proceeded to delete the app from their phone, and 79 percent promptly upped their security.

I know plenty of people who were becoming disillusioned with Facebook after its latest algorithm update, and others who felt too much time on the site was negatively impacting their mental health. For users like them, the data breach was the final straw in a partnership that was already deteriorating.

While a number of Facebook users remain loyal to the platform and haven’t severed ties, it’s clear that the social network will have to take some measures to earn back the public’s trust. In this case, apology flowers probably won’t cut it.

Image by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash
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