backlash began. Since then, the number of people looking for ways to delete their Facebook account has been on the increase to the point where it made the list of Google search suggestions yesterday for the words "How do I".Shortly after Facebook announced a bevy of new features at its F8 Developer conference last month, the
According to YouGov BrandIndex, a company that measures "consumer perception", this backlash is occurring primarily among the 35+ crowd, while the social network has only grown in popularity among the younger generation.
BrandIndex measures Facebook's popularity with a "buzz score", which asks respondents "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?" The company allows respondents to answer with a score from 100 to -100, arriving at a score by subtracting negative feedback from positive, with zero meaning equal positive and negative feedback.
According to the latest numbers from March 24 until May 7, Facebook's buzz score for the 35+ crowd has dropped from 26.7 to 21.2, while the number has jumped from 32.8 to 44.8 for the 18 to 34 year old demographic. Facebook's F8 developer conference took place on April 23.
The chart does seem to show a steep drop around the same time as the conference for the 18-34 demographic too, with numbers recovering after. The 35+ numbers, on the other hand, do look like they've been on the decline since the end of March.
Perhaps, as the New York Times suggests, the younger generation is simply realizing how it needs to act in order to protect its privacy online and Facebook's changes seem like less of a threat. According to the Times article, "people in their 20s exert more control over their digital reputations than older adults, more vigorously deleting unwanted posts and limiting information about themselves."
Or maybe it's entirely the other way around and it's not that the 35+ demographic is incapable of controlling their online identity, but they're more fully equipped to understand the implications of recent changes by Facebook and are making their opinions known. The 18-34 year old crowd, many of whom are seen as "digital natives" may be no more savvy than their elder counterparts, but potentially more naive.
Either way, it seems that Facebook continues to be a dividing line in the debate over online privacy and the battle is drawn among generations.