Facebook weathers social media turmoil, TikTok rises, US survey shows

In the first Pew survey on TikTok, 21 per cent of all adults ― including 48 per cent of those under 30 ― said they had used the Chinese-owned video app which has come under national security scrutiny. ― AFP pic via ETX Studio
In the first Pew survey on TikTok, 21 per cent of all adults ― including 48 per cent of those under 30 ― said they had used the Chinese-owned video app which has come under national security scrutiny. ― AFP pic via ETX Studio

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 8 ― Facebook usage has held steady in the United States despite a string of controversies about the leading social network, even as younger users tap into rival platforms such as TikTok, a survey showed yesterday.

The Pew Research Center survey from early 2021 found 69 per cent of American adults use Facebook, and 72 per cent used at least one social media site, levels which have been stable for the past five years.

“While there has been much written about Americans' changing relationship with Facebook, its users remain quite active on the platform,” the researchers wrote.

“Seven-in-ten Facebook users say they use the site daily, including 49 per cent who say they use the site several times a day.”

The report suggests Facebook's US usage has weathered a spate of controversies in recent years including the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the 2016 election, which involved the accessing of the personal data of millions of users without their consent, and concerns over disinformation and privacy.

Even with Facebook usage steady, the report showed a varied social media landscape with growth in Snapchat, Facebook-owned Instagram and TikTok among those under 30, and broad use of the Google-owned video-sharing platform YouTube.

Some 81 per cent of adults said they used YouTube, up from 73 per cent in 2019.

In the first Pew survey on TikTok, 21 per cent of all adults ― including 48 per cent of those under 30 ― said they had used the Chinese-owned video app which has come under national security scrutiny.

Among younger adults age 18-29, Instagram was massively popular at 71 per cent, along with Snapchat (65 per cent). Facebook usage in this age group was in line with the general population at 70 per cent.

Twitter, which has struggled to expand beyond its core base, was used by 23 per cent of Americans including 42 per cent of the under-30 age group.

Nextdoor, the social network focused on local communities, was used by 13 per cent of adults, according to Pew's first survey on the platform.

Reddit, the online bulletin board at the center of a controversy over stock-trading forums, saw its usage rise to 18 per cent of adults from 11 per cent in 2019, according to the survey.

The findings were based on a survey of 1,502 US adults from January 25 to February 8 by cellphone and landline phone, with an estimated margin of error of 2.9 percentage points. ― ETX Studio

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