Facebook use hasn't changed much despite privacy, fake news scandals

US adults are just as hooked on social media now as they were last year, according to a Pew survey.

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Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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It appears the flood of privacy and fake news scandals in recent years hasn't deterred Americans from using social media.

The percent of people who say they use social media platforms has remained relatively consistent compared with 2018, according to a Pew survey published Wednesday. 

Facebook is still one of the most popular social media platforms among US adults, with 69% saying they use the site. That's a 1% increase over last year. (Its use has been declining among US teens, according to a separate Pew survey conducted last year.) Use of YouTube remained at 73%. 

Pinterest use declined from 29% to 28%, Twitter use dropped from 24% to 22% and the percent of LinkedIn users went from 25% to 27%. Instagram grew from 35% of adults to 37%, and Snapchat declined from 27% to 24%.

Instagram and Snapchat are especially popular with younger adults, according to the report. Instagram is used by 67% of 18- to 29-year-olds, while Snapchat is used by 62% of people in this demographic. Even within that age bracket, there are differences in how much people use these platforms. People between the ages of 18 to 24 are more likely to use Snapchat (73%) and Instagram (75%), compared with those who are 25 to 29 (47% say they use Snapchat, while 57% say they use Instagram).

Watch this: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: What's your relationship with them like?

Facebook use, on the other hand, is fairly level across a range of age groups. Sixty-eight percent of people ages 50 to 64 and 76% of those ages 18 to 24 use the site, according to the report. 

The results come despite a slew of recent controversies, including reports last year on the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from as many as 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with the political consultancy. Russian trolls also used Facebook and Twitter to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election, and turned to Instagram after getting kicked off those platforms. Facebook has also been fighting to block the spread of misinformation on its platform.

These issues haven't significantly altered the use of these sites. A 2018 Pew survey found that Facebook users were taking measures to curb their use of the platform, such as deleting the app or stepping away for a while. Still, Wednesday's report found that Facebook users are as active on the platform now as they were in 2018, with around three-quarters visiting the site every day.