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Facebook users are changing their social habits amid privacy concerns

A survey says half of US users adjusted their privacy settings in the last year.
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The Pew Research Center has released the results of a survey that shows many Facebook users have changed how they interact with the site over the past year. The center polled 4,594 US adults between May 29th and June 11th and it found that 54 percent said they had adjusted their privacy settings, 42 percent had taken a break from the platform for at least several weeks and 26 percent said they deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year. In all, 74 percent of those surveyed had taken at least one of those actions over the past 12 months, though it's unclear if that's a typical rate or a response to recent privacy-related scandals.

Interestingly, Pew also found a difference between older and younger users. While 44 percent of Facebook users between 18 and 29 years old said they deleted the app sometime in the last year, only 12 percent of users 65 years of age or older said they had done the same. Similarly, while around 64 percent of users aged 18 to 49 said they had changed their privacy settings, only 33 percent of users 65 years old or older said they'd done so.

However, Pew didn't find any major differences between Democrats and Republicans. While Facebook and other social platforms have been accused by some of having a liberal bias, Pew found that Republicans and Democrats were equally as likely to have taken a break from Facebook or deleted the app over the past year.

Lastly, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light and it became clear that the company had improperly obtained information on 87 million Facebook users, Facebook and its privacy policies were put under a spotlight. The social media giant then implemented a number of changes aimed at giving users more control over their data, including the ability to download the data Facebook has collected about them. Pew found that just nine percent of those surveyed had downloaded their data, though those participants appeared to be more privacy-conscious than the group overall. Of those nine percent, nearly half had deleted the app from their phone and 79 percent had adjusted their privacy settings in the past year.

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