Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram seem to be finding it hard to keep up in the overcrowded market of social media apps. The mobile app downloads of Facebook and Instagram have fallen a combined 13% year-over-year, according to a report by Bank of America. Instagram’s competitor Snapchat was up 23% in the same period. Even online bulletin board Pinterest registered growth in the number of users.
Facebook seemed to have taken a bigger hit than Instagram in the number of downloads. While the downloads of Facebook’s mobile app were down by 15%, Instagram fell 9%. The report does not state the reasons behind the fall, but Facebook still seems to be reeling under consumer backlash after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The scandal raises serious doubts over user data shared with Facebook and the social media giant was found guilty of collecting and sharing information without explicit consent from the user.
The Mark Zuckerberg-owned company landed in another privacy violation scandal, when a report emerged that the company had hired hundreds of private contractors to transcribe the content of calls made over its Messenger app. The social media giant admitted that it had been transcribing the audio content and it will no longer do so, following scrutiny on other companies over related transgressions.
In India, Facebook and Instagram have also been facing stiff competition from TikTok. According to data published by research firm Sensor Tower in July 2019, TikTok was the most downloaded app on the iOS store while it was marginally behind Facebook on the Google Play Store.
Snapchat raced ahead of Instagram with its face swap feature that it rolled out in April last year. The new feature by the image sharing app allows users to swap their faces onto someone else’s body or vice versa.
During the third quarter last year, Facebook downloads were up 3% year on year. The drop this year paints a stark picture for the popular social media app. Facebook will have to reinvent itself and allay the privacy concerns, if it plans to maintain its top spot in the market.