Americans (try to) back away from Facebook

Andrew Perrin from the Pew Research Center:

Just over half of Facebook users ages 18 and older (54%) say they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.

I have anecdotally seen this myself. People I know are posting less and checking in less than they ever have before, although no one has actually disabled or deleted their accounts. They all log back in eventually.

Hamza Shaban at The Washington Post digs a little deeper:

Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer, said that the survey rings true with the public backlash over Facebook’s data privacy scandals and with continued concerns over false news reports, election meddling, and negativity on the platform…

Williamson noted that other research has not supported the case that Facebook is shedding users and that it’s possible users who have shunned the app later returned to it.

“Surveys are a good barometer of how people are feeling, but at the end of the day, it’s really hard to let go completely,” she said. “If you take a break you feel like you missed something.”

How Microsoft became tech’s good guy

Preston Gralla at Computerworld:

Once upon a time, Microsoft symbolized all that was wrong with the tech world: greedy, monopolistic, single-mindedly focused on profits while caring little about the public good. In the heyday of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, the company ran roughshod over competitors in its attempt to corral the worldwide market for both operating systems and application software.

But today, Microsoft has embraced the role of the tech world’s better angel. And as events show in recent weeks, that’s not hype. The company has, to some extent, tried to act as the industry’s conscience as well as taking actions for the greater good.

Microsoft has somewhat surprisingly fallen off my radar in recent years, but it’s good to see them taking the lead on important issues like fighting Russian cyber-espionage and speaking out against involuntary facial recognition. Our government should be doing more on the former, but don’t get me started on that…