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Facebook Loses 1.3 Billion Monthly Visits in Wake of Cambridge Analytica Scandal


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I was curious how much Facebook usage would suffer since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in March, and here's a pretty good answer: According to SimilarWeb, in April, total Facebook visits (both to Facebook.com and through its mobile apps) fell from 24 billion in March, down to 22.77 billion in April -- a drop of 1.3 billion visits, and down 5.15% of the total.


Obviously this drop isn't completely attributable to the CA scandal. Facebook also saw a significant drop in February, compared to the last three months (see chart below). But that February dip is likely due in great part to the changes the company made to its timeline feed in January.


How much does a drop of 1.3 billion monthly visits mean in terms of lost revenue, or users? We probably won't know until Facebook's next quarterly corporate report, but here's a very rough casual estimate:


Assuming the average Facebook user visits the social network once a day, that would suggest an average of about 43 million less users during that month. In recent months, Facebook makes about $5 per user, per month -- i.e. some $215 million in potential lost revenue. (Again, very primitive estimates here -- or what a VC friend likes to call "monkey math".)


My main curiosity moving forward is if this loss continues, or usage recovers. From past experience, social media scandals always involve millions vowing to Quit Facebook Forever (through announcements made on, well, Facebook) -- and then in successive months, most of those millions begrudgingly return. But this time, we seem to be in uniquely uncharted territory.  


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It was a big blow for the company, users who visit daily do not care. Just share and see.

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