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Survey: Controversy Has Not Dulled 'Edge'

Social media's share of U.S. adults screen time is essentially unchanged between 2016 and 2018, despite controversies over privacy, censorship, fake news and more over that time.

That is according to a new Pew Research Center study.

"The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter are each largely the same as in 2016," said Pew. "[W]ith only Instagram showing an uptick in use during this time period." There are no 2016 comparables for YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp or Reddit.)

But another way of looking at that is that the steady growth in adoption of social media platforms of the past decade is apparently slowing, according to Pew, so the controversy could have had some role in that slowed growth.

Among the top takeaways from the study are that Facebook and Twitter remain popular and widely, with Instagram and Snapchat particularly popular with the 18-24 demo.

According to the study 73% use YouTube and 69% use Facebook. And while 47% of adults ages 25-29 use Snapchat, that figure is 73% for the 18-24 demo. For Instagram, the 25-29 figure is 57% compared to 75% for 18-24.

The poll was conduced by telephone Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2019, among a national sample of 1,502 adults, 18-plus. The margin of error for the overall sample is 2.8 percentage points.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.