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Facebook usage declines over past 12 months

Touching tablet

Facebook usage declines over past 12 months

According to data from Mixpanel, a business analytics firm, usage of social networking site Facebook has plummeted in the last 12 months.

The data is for the period commencing April 2018, which is the first full month after the news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal first broke. The immediate aftermath showed that public faith in the networking site was shaken, with users completing actions such as posting a status update, liking a friend’s post and sharing content dropping by around 10%.

This trend continued throughout 2018, and the overall statistic suggests that Facebook usage is down 20% on what it was in the previous year. With April 2018 showing a 10% drop, the number of total actions completed on the site started to recover slightly over the summer months, before falling throughout the autumn and winter.

However, the site did see some sort of recovery during the US mid-term elections, where it rose to similar levels of April 2018, before plummeting once again, reaching its lowest levels in December 2018, where usage had dipped by 30% on the starting figure. This began to rise again in the new year, and recovered to 20% less than the starting point.

This decline in usage is perhaps no surprise, as it coincides with a number of privacy and data breaches and hate speech scandals. In September 2018, the company revealed the discovery of a data breach that had affected around 50 million accounts.

However, despite these statistics from Mixpanel, Facebook has reported that other metrics show that the company is continuing to grow. Facebook has been measuring the number of daily and monthly active users. These are users who log into their accounts at least once during the reported periods.

The company reports that there have been increases in both statistics in the year that ended in March 2019. It published its quarterly earnings report back in April and in this report, it stated that it was averaging around 1.56 billion daily users, which is an increase year on year of 8%, with monthly users showing an increase of the same percentage.

Both Mixpanel and Facebook’s statistics ring true. It would seem that few accounts have been deleted since the scandals came to light, and not many users have refrained from logging into their accounts. Instead, they have just stopped interacting on the site as much as they used to.

Research from eMarketer backs this up. It released a report earlier this month that suggested usage in the US had declined, with the average user spending around 38 minutes a day on the site, which was down from an average of 41 minutes in 2017. eMarketer believes it is younger users wo are contributing the most to this, by leaving the site and spreading their social time across numerous apps, including Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram.

Alan Littler

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