US social media users sticking with services

Facebook remains the most widely used social media website. (AFP pic)

US adults appear to be sticking with Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms despite controversies over privacy and misinformation, according to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.

A month-long survey taken early this year found that the portion of US adults who said they use various social media services was essentially unchanged from a year earlier, Pew said in a news release.

The results come in spite of “a long stretch of controversies over privacy, fake news and censorship on social media,” Pew researchers Monica Anderson and Andrew Perrin said.

The percentages of people who said they used Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Twitter were “largely the same,” with Instagram showing an uptick in its portion of users, according to the survey.

Facebook remained the most widely used social media website, with approximately seven out of every 10 adults saying they used the service.

“Facebook users as a whole are just as active on the site today as they were a year ago,” Anderson and Perrin said.

YouTube was the only other online platform with a similar reach. The survey showed 73% of people said they used the Google-owned video sharing service.

The survey indicated 28% of the respondents used Pinterest; 27% used career-oriented social network LinkedIn; 24% used Snapchat; 22% used Twitter, and 20% used WhatsApp.

Meanwhile, 37% of those in the survey said they used Instagram.

Instagram and Snapchat showed strong followings among young adults, while women were three times as likely as men to use online bulletin board Pinterest, according to the study.

A Pew report released in September of last year indicated that a large number of Americans were stepping back from Facebook in the wake of scandals over the social network’s handling of private user data.

That Pew report found 42% of US Facebook users said they had “taken a break” from the platform in the previous 12 months, and 26% said they had deleted the Facebook app from their phone.

But Facebook remains the world’s largest social network with more than two billion users.