More Facebook users are saying goodbye to Facebook. According to a new Pew Research Center report, more people between the ages of 18 and 29 are taking steps to limit their relationship to the social network following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exposed tens of millions users’ personal information for political gain without their consent.
After that scandal, many users had had enough. In the May and June survey of 4,594 American adults, 44% of younger users said they deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year, a number that is four times the share of users ages 65 and older doing the same.
More younger Americans opting out of Facebook
And even if you were not among the young cohort taking drastic action, you were most likely doing something to limit Facebook’s hold on you. Seventy-four percent of American Facebook users either changed their privacy settings, took a break from the app for several weeks or deleted it for good from their phones.
The exodus from Facebook suggests we want a healthier relationship with our technology. By limiting our use with Facebook, we can limit its effect on our brain. Facebook was designed to be purposefully addictive, according to some of social media’s architects, and scaling back can break the habit of mindlessly scrolling. Deleting the app may also limit Facebook’s influence on our mood. Seeing everyone’s curated lives does not make us feel good. One study found that when young adults used Facebook, it made them more aware of what they did not have and consequently decreased their happiness. The easiest way to break out of these thoughts is to opt out of the platform hosting them.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal was a wake-up call for many of us to take a deeper look at what we do on Facebook. It gave us a heightened awareness of the personal information we give away to social media platforms like Facebook. And when we took that step back from Facebook, we started to realize, as many of Americans did, that it was not the best use of our time.