An increasing number of Australian social media users are rejecting Facebook in favour of communicating directly with family and friends via messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, a new survey has revealed.
An online poll of 2,539 people, conducted by Pure Profile, found 10% of Australians aged 15+ have already deleted their Facebook app, while another 23% said they are considering doing so.
These findings were revealed in the latest release of the Datafication project into how Australians use social media, which is conducted by independent agency The Works in partnership with Dr Suresh Sood from UTS Advanced Analytics Institute.
Unveiled at the Mumbrella360 event, the study confirmed that millennials are leading the trend, although Gen X and Gen Y are following too, Mumbrella reported.
Douglas Nicol, a partner at The Works, attributed the change to the rise of untrusted "fake news" that appears in users' timelines as well as a growing reluctance to share updates with large numbers of so-called "friends" with whom they actually have little or no connection.
"This isn't a change within the world of social media, this is a change within every way that we communicate," he said. "Be careful, as a brand, what you do with that medium because it is potentially highly intrusive if you employ the marketing activities of the past."
He added that consumers appear to be rejecting the broadcast-style of newsfeed interaction, preferring instead to return to real conversations with their real friends.
Certainly, there is little doubt that the popularity of messaging apps is growing, with the survey finding that 12m Australians now use them.
Of these, 38% (4.5m) said messaging apps are their primary method of contact, up from 33% the same time last year, while more than half (56%) said they access an app every day.
In addition, the use of Snapchat soared 55% in the past year to 4.4m people, just behind WhatsApp at 4.5m (up 35%), although Facebook Messenger remained the leading platform after recording an increase of 18% to 10.4m.
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