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Are we heading for a social media exodus?

Are people growing tired of social media, or are the concerns over online privacy hitting home? The trends suggest this is the case.

Social media operators face a conundrum dealing with content labeled satire, which may also be harmful misinformation. — © AFP
Social media operators face a conundrum dealing with content labeled satire, which may also be harmful misinformation. — © AFP

Are people growing tired of social media, or are the concerns over online privacy hitting home? There are some trends that suggest this is the case. But what would happen if there was a mass exodus from social media platforms?

A survey from VPNOverview.com into the UK found that 43 percent of Facebook users are considering leaving the platform or have considered doing so in the past year. The data for the study was drawn from Statista. The survey also considers other platforms and the potential exit rates, although the reasons for people seeking to exit are not detailed (and these are likely to be varied).

What would be the impact of this? For Facebook there would be a loss of revenue. However, even if four in ten Facebook users quit, the social media giant would still have more users than Instagram (24.4 million UK users) or Twitter (13.7 million UK users). In 2021, Facebook suffered several outages and also rebranded its parent company as ‘Meta’.

However, considering that Facebook has 44.8 million daily active users in the UK, if all 43 percent of users (19.26 million people) each decided to quit, Facebook be left with 25.53 million users. That would put Facebook three other social networks based on their current number of daily active users: YouTube, which has 39 million, WhatsApp, which has 30 million, and LinkedIn, which has 27.5 million.

In terms of other social media platforms and the inclination to quit or to stay among users, the data reveals:

 AppsUsers (UK)% Considering leavingConsidering Digital Detox (Million)How many users remaining
1Facebook44,800,0004319,264,00025,536,000
2Tumblr9,500,000393,705,0005,795,000
3Snapchat18,700,000376,919,00011,781,000
4Twitter13,700,000314,247,0009,453,000
5TikTok3,700,000301,110,0002,590,000
6Instagram24,400,000245,856,00018,544,000
7LinkedIn27,500,000226,050,00021,450,000
8Pinterest10,600,000212,226,0008,374,000
9WhatsApp30,000,00072,100,00027,900,000
10YouTube39,000,00062,340,00036,660,000
Table showing UK users considering leaving different social media platforms

Tumblr has the second-highest percentage of users who wish to take a break from the platform. The site has a total of 9.5 million users, while 39 percent (3.7 million) have considered leaving. If this happened, this would leave 5.79 million users.

Taking third place on the ‘digital detox’ list is Snapchat with 37 percent (6.91 million) of its users thinking about leaving the app. As a result, its user count of 18.7 million would drop to 11.78 million.

Twitter currently has around 13.7 million users, and a total of 31 percent (4.24 million) are looking to take a break from the app – the fourth-highest percentage in the study, which would leave Twitter with 9.45 million UK users.

Following fifth is TikTok, with an estimated 3.7 million users on the platform, 30 percent of which are looking to take a detox, which equates to 1.11 million people.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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