Ah, symbolism.
Photo: Joel Saget (AFP via Getty Images)

Hey, remember that time the biggest social media platform in the world was breached by a data harvesting company headed by Steve Bannon, leading to the private information of 50 million people being used for information warfare to get Trump elected, and Facebook knew about it for two years and did nothing?

As it turns out, Facebook is really, really hoping you don’t recall that particular travesty of security and privacy—it’s spending shitloads to remind you how much fun you could be having on its site!—but it might be a case of too little, too late. According to a new Pew Research Center Survey, a huge percentage of Facebook users are scaling back the amount of time they spend on the site, or at the very least, fixing their security settings to make it a little more difficult for the site to profit off of the exploitation of your information. And while Pew doesn’t explicitly give the reasoning behind these actions, let’s just go ahead and assume it’s because Facebook sucks ass. (In unrelated news, Facebook has a stranglehold on the livelihood of many of us in digital media. Fun! I wonder if this story will show up in your Facebook news feed.)

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Pew statistics show that more than half of all U.S. Facebook users 18 and older have tightened their security settings in the past 12 months. Nearly half of them—42 percent, or four in ten—report having “taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more.” And greater than a fourth of all U.S. adults (26 percent) have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphones, which, yeah, we joined that club awhile back. Combined, that makes for 74 percent of all adult users taking one or more of these actions since summer 2017.

Interestingly, this data is split equally between Republicans and Democrats, despite Republicans overwhelmingly believing social media platforms censor political speech they find problematic. (Of course, many leftists these days seem to want social media sites to censor speech they’ve deemed problematic. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.) Roughly identical percentages of both political affiliations still use Facebook, with these leanings having no bearing on whether they tightened security and/or use the site less often.

Conversely, it’s mostly young people who are realizing just how much Facebook blows, with almost half of users aged 18 to 29 deleting the app from their phones, a rate four times that of those 65 and older. The senior citizen crowd has also adjusted their privacy settings much more infrequently, perhaps because Facebook, until quite recently, intentionally tried to make that shit as confusing as possible. However, age is nothing but a number when it comes to taking a break from the social media platform, with equal numbers taking a break from using it. And while the company continues to care way more about its image regarding security as opposed to actual security, here’s a few more statistics we just made up to convey people’s thoughts about Facebook:

  • 37 percent of all Facebook users say if they ever see the phrase “The answer might surprise you” again in a “news story” that appears in their feed, they will fucking scream
  • 24 percent of all users report Facebook being “total garbage” they mostly only keep around to appease family members living in other states, and also to keep checking to see if bad things have happened to the mean kids from high school
  • 89 percent of everyone on the planet says a small prayer before falling asleep consisting of the words, “And almighty God, if I wake up in the morning and it’s like Facebook never existed, I will never stop praising your holy name. Amen.”

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