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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

Facebook and Its Users Are Telling Different Stories

A poll finds that Americans are less connected to the social media site, yet the company’s own data show little change.

Fewer eyeballs?

Fewer eyeballs?

Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Americans have drastically cut back their use of Facebook, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Yet the company’s reported results have held steady. Something is not right.

The survey, conducted in late May and early June, shows that 42 percent of American adult users of Facebook took a break of several weeks or more from checking Facebook over the year; 26 percent deleted the app from their phones; and 54 percent adjusted their privacy settings. These percentages are even higher for users between the ages of 18 and 49: Older people are apparently more conservative and less able to understand Facebook’s convoluted privacy settings.