Is India Quitting Facebook?

2018/08/24 08:00

india quitting facebook


Facebook is no longer one of India’s top apps. Here’s why.


India quits Facebook in 2018

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market Share


Where Facebook was once one of the most popular apps in India, user stats have been steadily declining since June 2017, with Facebook no longer even featuring as one of the top 5 apps in the country.

According to a white paper by ComScore, WhatsApp is currently the most popular app in India, followed by Google Play and YouTube.


SNS in India

The report also showed that 89% of daily digital minutes in India are made up of smartphone usage, which is higher than both the U.S. and Canada.

devices by country

Is privacy the issue?

New research shows that even if you delete your Facebook account, you can still be tracked and profiled, which may be the reason why 80% of online users in India are now using YouTube for content.

The #DeleteFacebook movement is one that has been gaining a lot of momentum in recent months, with big names such as Elon Musk also joining the ranks.

Following, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent data scandal, the Government of India issued him a warning and even threatened to summon Zuckerberg should India’s electoral process be affected by Facebook.

According to Cliqz, Facebook is currently monitoring 30% of global Internet traffic, while Google monitors 60%. An in-depth study by Cliqz found that 77.4% of all browsers had one or the form of tracking code embedded.

Basically, it seems that even if you’ve deleted your Facebook account, you will still be tracked in one way or another either by Facebook, Google or an unknown 3rd party tracker, as any browsing you do will leave traces in the form of cookies and tracking pixels.

Even though deleting your Facebook account won’t do much, there are some steps that you can take to better protect your data.

How Facebook is dealing with online issues in India

Following the Indian Government’s concerns about their elections as well as an incident where Sinhala ‘hate speech’ articles that incited communal violence were published, Facebook introduced a third-party fact-checking programme that would combat the spread of “false news” on the platform. A similar initiative is also set to be rolled out in countries such as Indonesia, Italy, France, Netherlands, Germany, the Philippines, Mexico and the U.S.A.

It is also believed that one of the biggest contributing factors to the recent issues with false news being spread on Facebook in India is that there are no centers for data, research, and development or even a country head, despite the fact the country has the largest user base of WhatsApp and Facebook users.

And since Facebook India’s managing director, Umang Bedi, quit in October last year, Facebook will be hiring a vice-president for India in the coming months in order to bring more focus to data privacy and security.

Another significant update that was made involved changes to third-party app usage policies.

Since Cambridge Analytica was able to create profiles for over 50 million Facebook users using a personality prediction app, the platform will be changing their login process. What this means is that Facebook will now need to approve any app that’s requesting sensitive information such as posts, check-ins, groups, and photos. Apps will also no longer be able to ask for information such as friend’s lists, political views, and relationship statuses.

Users will now also be able to see which apps they’ve shared information with via a link at the top of their News Feed.

Other changes that Facebook will be rolling out include:

  • Partner categories have been shut down: This is a product that lets third-party data providers offer their targeting on Facebook
  • Email search functionality has been disabled: Facebook users were able to enter an email address into the search bar to find a user but this functionality is no longer available
  • Text and call history will be deleted: Facebook will be deleting all call and text logs that are older than a year
  • Event API changes: Any apps using the Events API will no longer be able to access event guest lists or posts. Facebook will also be placing a strict approval process in place for any apps that want to use the Events API in future
  • Page API changes: Any apps looking to access the Pages API will need to be approved by Facebook. This means that apps won’t be able to read posts or comments from any page anymore
  • Groups API changes: Any apps looking to access the content of a closed group will need permission from the group admin or a member. Facebook will also be evaluating and approving any apps that want access to the Groups API. Apps will also no longer have access to group member lists
  • Instagram API changes: Facebook has made the decision to shut down part of the Instagram API

So, what is the future of Facebook in India? It seems that until India’s Government and the country’s online users are convinced that Facebook’s changes will provide them with more security and privacy online, apps such as WhatsApp and YouTube will continue to be the preferred choice for connecting and content.