Young Adults Un-Friend Facebook
A new survey of Americans' Facebook habits found interest in the social network is still strong, but a significant majority is spending less time on Facebook now.
CREDIT: AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / Shutterstock.com
"I'm quitting Facebook!" Sound familiar? It should. Sixty-one percent of adult American Facebook users — a number that comprises 40 percent of all American adults with Internet access — have taken a voluntary, multi-week break from Facebook in the past, according to a new survey.
Those who make a permanent break join the one in five American adults with Internet access who used to be on Facebook, but have left the site.
These numbers and more come from a landline and cellphone survey of 1,006 adults living in the United States, conducted by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based organization that regularly surveys trends in the United States.
In their latest study, Pew researchers looked at how American adults use Facebook. Their numbers show that interest in the social media behemoth is still going strong. Nevertheless, a significant minority of users are either quitting or expect to spend less time on Facebook than they used to. This is especially true among the youngest adults.
Among those who have taken a break from Facebook, the most common reason was not having time for it. In spite of media attention to Facebook's shifting privacy policies, and the breaches that may come from Facebook's beta Graph Search, only 4 percent of break-takers cited privacy worries as their reason for leaving. "Just didn't like it" and "too much drama" were more common motivators. [SEE ALSO: How to Remove Your Ex from Your Digital Life]
In general, Facebook and social media form a major part of Americans' online lives. More than half of all adults in the United States use at least one social networking site. (The next time you're at the grocery store, imagine every other adult you see tweeting, Instagramming, posting on Facebook or sharing on Flickr.)
Two-thirds of American adults with Internet access use Facebook. The majority of those on Facebook say Mark Zuckerberg's nine-year-old creation is just as important to them now as it was last year, and they've continued to spend the same amount of time scrolling through their news feed and clicking on old high school rivals' photos.
At the same time, about a third of Facebook users say they've spent less time on the site over the past year. The youngest adults, those ages 18 through 29, were the most likely to have spent less time on Facebook over the past year (42 percent of the youngest adults, compared to 23 percent of adults ages 50 and older). Younger adults were also the most likely to say they expect to spend less time on Facebook in the coming year.