Facebook exodus: Nearly half of young users have deleted the app from their phone in the last year, says study

By Matt Rosoff

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. 
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. 

Facebook's year of scandals is driving young users away from the platform, according to a Pew survey.

Pew surveyed more than 3,400 U.S. Facebook users in May and June, and found that a whopping 44 percent of those ages 18 to 29 say they've deleted the app from their phone in the last year. Some of them may have reinstalled it later.

Overall, 26 percent of survey respondents say they deleted the app, while 42 percent have "taken a break" for several weeks or more, and 54 percent have adjusted their privacy settings.

The results don't necessarily spell dire news for the company as a whole. The survey measures only the core Facebook app, not Facebook-owned Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, all of which remain popular and offer a lot of room for revenue growth. In addition, it does not measure Facebook users outside the U.S., where growth has continued as North American usage has stalled.

Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

On Wednesday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee about Facebook's efforts to fight interference. However, former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos recently warned that the U.S. is no better equipped to fight foreign interference in the 2018 midterm elections than it was in 2016. Stamos is one of seven senior executives who have left or announced plans to leave Facebook this year.

The scandals are affecting Facebook's financial situation as well. The company's stock plunged more than 20 percent on a single day in July after Facebook warned on its earnings call of slowing ad growth and higher expenses related to fighting misinformation. Shares are off 1.4 percent in midday trading on Wednesday amid a broader decline in tech stocks.

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.