Nearly three-quarters of American Facebook users have changed how they use the social media app in the past year, following a barrage of scandals involving the abuse of personal data, foreign interference in U.S. elections and the spread of hateful or harassing content on the platform.
The findings were released Wednesday in a new survey by the Pew Research Center the same day that Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is testifying before a Senate panel hearing to discuss how the company is better prepared to combat foreign interference on the platform than during the 2016 election.
The survey revealed that 74 percent of adults have taken one of the following actions: changed their privacy settings, taken a break from the app or deleted it all together.
Pew also found that more than 1 in 4 Americans have deleted the app from their phones. Fifty-four percent tweaked their privacy settings, and 42 percent stopped using the app for several weeks or longer. Those interventions were also much more likely to have been taken by younger people, who outpaced older users in each of the three actions. For instance, 64 percent of 18- to 29 year-olds changed their privacy settings in the past year, compared with 33 percent of people aged 65 and older.
Facebook said in a statement to The Washington Post that users manage their information through the app's privacy controls every day. "Over recent months we have made our policies clearer, our privacy settings easier to find and introduced better tools for people to access, download, and delete their information. We've also run education campaigns on and off Facebook to help people around the world better understand how to manage their information on Facebook."
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