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Social Networking Giant Facebook Losing Users in US

Last month, Facebook reportedly decided to put an end to its unpaid market research programmes after it was found to have been bribing teenagers in India and the US to give their personal information

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Social networking giant Facebook today hosts around 15 million fewer people in the US than it did in 2017, with the biggest drop being among teen and millennial demographic.

A new US-specific survey data compiled by market research firm Edison Research highlighted that Facebook’s user-base was shrinking, particularly in the coveted 12- to 34-year-old in America, which was once recognised as the most lucrative market for the platform.

“Edison’s survey signal that the social network’s privacy woes and continued breaches of user trust may be having some noticeable effect on its most coveted slice of users. Also, there’s conjecture about as Facebook has become more popular among older people, whether that’s affected younger people,” The Verge reported on Thursday.

Although, one interesting element that was observed was that whole Facebook users are awarming away from the app, they are flocking to Instagram.

“The photo-sharing platform, which by its nature collects less personal information from its users, can be a simpler, less toxic alternative to using the main Facebook service, now overrun by ads and plagued by all manner of misinformation and fake news,” the report said.

Facebook
The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Instagram now counts more than 1 billion global users and over 400 million monthly users of its Snapchat-like feature, Stories.

Facebook’s biggest competitor is another one of its own products, and it seems unlikely the company will stop the shed of users anytime soon, the report added.

 Decline in the user-base does not really come as a shock given that the platform has been pointed at several times for its practices of collecting user information without their consent for ad targeting and finding friends purposes which have outraged users and privacy advocates.

The company was pulled up on Tuesday over its secure login process two-factor authentication (2FA) where it asked users to add phone numbers, which could be searched by advertisers. The practice drew criticism even from Facebook’s former chief information security officer Alex Stamos.

Last month, Facebook reportedly decided to put an end to its unpaid market research programmes after it was found to have been bribing teenagers in India and the US to give their personal information. (IANS)

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Instagram to Allow Users to Have More Control Over their Personal Information

A user could restrict someone by swiping left on a comment, through the Privacy tab in Settings or directly on the profile of the account you intend to restrict

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facebook, social media
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone, March 13, 2019, in New York. VOA

Facebook-owned Instagram on Tuesday announced a new feature which will allow users to have control over the personal information they share with third-parties through the app and it will be rolling out gradually over the next six months.

A user can navigate to Settings -> Security -> Apps and Websites to see which third-party services have access to their data.

“It is essential that we protect the data people share with us. We also want to give people more control over the data they share with other apps and services,” the company said in a statement.

Instagram will also be rolling out an “updated authorisation screen” that will notify users when a third-party app is requesting to use data.

facebook privacy
FILE – The Instagram icon is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

“To ensure you know what specific data third parties are requesting from you, we are also introducing an updated authorization screen that lists all the information the third party is requesting to access. You’ll have the option to “cancel” or “authorize” this access directly from the authorisation screen,” the company added.

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Instagram has also rolled out a new mode called “Restrict” globally that would let users stop people who bully them via offensive posts or abusive comments.

A user could restrict someone by swiping left on a comment, through the Privacy tab in Settings or directly on the profile of the account you intend to restrict. (IANS)