Facebook is already having a hard time convincing users to enable tracking in apps, but it seems that this isn’t the only thing that has been affecting the company. As shown by app analysis firm AppFigures, Facebook’s app has lost 30% of downloads in both the App Store and Google Play when compared to the previous year.
According to the analysis, Facebook’s mobile app recorded an average of 15 million downloads per week in May 2020. However, the app is now getting no more than 11 million downloads on iOS and Android combined. Interestingly, the first significant drop in downloads occurred in June 2020, right after Apple announced iOS 14 with several new privacy features.
In May of 2020, downloads for Facebook’s flagship and lite apps averaged around 15M every week. That’s across both the App Store and Google Play, based on our estimates. By June, that number dropped to 13M. Fast forward to April 2021, and that number is roaming at under 11M.
AppFigures points out that Facebook has seen some slopes in downloads before, but this is the first time in a long time that the numbers have dropped considerably and for more than a year. While the reasons aren’t disclosed by the company, the analyst firm believes this may be mainly related to the growth of TikTok.
As also revealed by the firm, TikTok remains the most downloaded app in both the App Store and Google Play, with a total of 52 million downloads in April 2021. Just on the iOS App Store, Facebook recorded 9.9 million downloads last month, while TikTok got 15.9 million downloads.
Privacy concerns may also have caused some users to stay away from Facebook. Since iOS 14 was introduced with several new privacy features, the company led by Mark Zuckerberg has taken a stand against some of the changes imposed by Apple. This includes the App Tracking Transparency option and privacy labels on the App Store.
More recently, Facebook has been prompting users to enable app tracking if they want both Facebook and Instagram to remain “free of charge.” The company has also been forcing users to accept new WhatsApp privacy policies; otherwise, they will lose app functionalities.
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- NYTimes details how Apple’s privacy focus drove a wedge between Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg
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