The amount of time people spend on Facebook is declining, according to a new report from Pivotal Research Group. The firm analyzed data on digital content consumption from Nielsen for August 2018 and found that while digital content consumption is up 15% year-over-year generally speaking, Facebook’s particular share is dropping.
According to Pivotal’s research, Facebook—including Messenger and its related companies Instagram and WhatsApp—was down 3%, accounting for 14.3% of all digital consumption in August 2018, compared with 16.9% in August 2017 and 18.5% in August 2016.
It’s not that the number of Facebook users was dropping (in fact, they were up 7.2%), but average time per person spent browsing the site was down 6.7%, for an aggregate decline in usage of 13%.
While Pivotal isn’t willing to go so far as to definitely say that the decline in Facebook use is due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the recent data breach, and other concerns around data privacy, it is hard to ignore the timing of the decline.
Politics fatigue could also be playing a role. While Facebook activity was likely higher around the 2016 election and its aftermath, many Facebook users may simply be getting tired of that Trump-voting uncle who won’t shut up about Hillary—and Facebook itself has been deleting pages aimed at stirring up trouble.
Even with Facebook’s pinky-swear promise to be more careful with data, users may not be as trusting of the social media site.
The bright side for Facebook, though, is that people are still intentionally naive when it comes to Facebook’s ownership of Instagram. The photo-sharing site experienced 16.5% user growth and a whopping 43% gain in time spent on the platform.