The impact of Facebook’s repeated public scandals may be more pronounced than we thought. According to a new report from Edison Research, which was first reported by Marketplace, the social network has an estimated 15 million fewer users in the United States than it did in 2017. That’s no small number.
The biggest drop, writes Marketplace, is in the “12- to 34-year-old group.” And this should be a huge deal inside Facebook, which is always trying to stay relevant with the young folks.
At its most recent quarterly earnings report, Facebook did not report a drop in what it considers “daily active users.” In fact, it showed a slight increase in the U.S. and Canada. According to Larry Rosin, president of Edison research, there are likely a few reasons for this. He said:
When they’re producing those numbers, they’re typically talking about their global platform. This is a survey just of the USA. Furthermore, we’re asking about usage. We’re saying, “Do you currently use Facebook?” Facebook is probably measuring it on, “Do you ever open the app, or do you ever use it on any level?”
So it seems Edison was looking at people who are actually interfacing with the platform, whereas Facebook likely only considered a user to be someone who maybe sometimes opened the app. I reached out to Facebook for comment and will update this post if I hear back.
Overall, this drop shouldn’t come as a huge shock, but it likely is sending shivers down the spines of many Facebook executives. Revelations continue to come out about the ways Facebook has mishandled user data and privacy. Some have wondered if these persistent negative headlines have had an impact on the company’s user base, and statistics like this show that they probably do.
You can read the full Marketplace report here.