A new study has found Australians are turning their backs on Facebook in favour of communicating directly with family, friends and colleagues via messaging apps, with one in three or 3.9 million users of messaging apps having already deleted or actively considering abandoning the social platform.
The popularity of one to one and one to some communication on services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat comes as the number of Australians aged 15-plus using messaging apps increased by 13 per cent to 11.9 million compared to the same time last year.
The switch to more intimate conversations on apps is attributed to the glut of untrusted or ‘fake news’ appearing in users’ timelines and a shift away from sharing updates with a large group of so called ‘friends’, many of whom have little or no connection with the Facebook member.
An online survey of 2,539 people conducted by Pure Profile found 10 per cent (1.2 million) of those using messaging apps have already deleted Facebook, with a further 23 per cent (2.7 million) saying they are contemplating removing it.
Millennials are leading the pack when it comes to getting rid of Facebook, followed by Gen X and then Gen Z.
The findings are revealed in the seventh release of the award winning Datafication project into how Australians use social media by Sydney independent creative agency The Works and sister messaging agency On Message, in collaboration with Dr. Suresh Sood from UTS Advanced Analytics Institute.
Douglas Nicol, leader of the Datafication project and partner at The Works said: “The rise of the ‘deleter’ highlights that we are entering a new phase of not just social media but also how we communicate as humans. We are starting to reject the broadcast style of newsfeed interaction and returning to real conversations with our real friends. We reckon this is a pretty healthy trend for society.”
Of the nearly 12 million people using messaging apps, 38 per cent (4.5 million) said it was now their primary method of contact, up from 33 per cent (3.4 million) the same time last year, with more than half (56 per cent) accessing an app everyday. While the use of social media platforms in general has increased over the past year, there continues to be significant declines in phone, SMS and email use.
The use of Snapchat has rocketed by 55 per cent in the past year to 4.4 million people, just behind WhatsApp at 4.5 million, up 35% year-on-year. Messenger remains the leading platform recording an increase of 18 per cent to 10.4 million.
Sood added: “Last year’s study lay witness to the emerging trend of the psychology of social media evolving from highly public interactions to informal yet private chats with close friends and family circles. This moment is now real, and we can no longer rely on just social networks and feeds. Instead marketing professionals need to think carefully about finding their way onto the phone or watch contacts list of the consumer in an authentic and genuine manner.”