1 in 4 Facebook users have purged the app from their phones, U.S. survey finds

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Americans are changing the way they use Facebook, with more and more young people deleting the app from their phones, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.

The findings, released Wednesday by the non-partisan U.S. think tank, showed that more than 25 per cent of American adults surveyed have deleted the Facebook app from their phone.

READ MORE: Facebook, Twitter to tell Congress they’re working hard to thwart election meddling

Almost half of the respondents said they have taken a break from the social media platform for a period of several weeks or more.

And 54 per cent said they have adjusted their privacy settings over the past year.

In all, 74 per cent said they have taken at least one of the three above actions in the past year (deleted Facebook, changed privacy or taken a break).

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The findings come on the same day Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is appearing before the U.S. Senate’s intelligence committee to discuss privacy concerns and foreign interference during elections.

WATCH: Sheryl Sandberg says ‘it’s on us’ when it comes to alleged Russian influence the 2016 presidential election

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Sandberg, who testified alongside Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, acknowledged to the committee that the company was too slow to respond to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and general American political discourse, but insisted it is doing better.

In March the social media giant came under fire after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, had accessed the data of over 50 million Facebook users through a research project conducted by a Cambridge University academic.

The privacy controversy seemed to have impacted users, mainly younger ones.

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READ MORE: 9 easy things you can do to beef up your privacy on Facebook

Forty-four per cent of younger users, aged 18 to 29, say they have deleted the app from their phone in the past year, which is nearly four times higher than users 65 and older (12 per cent) who have done so.

Older users were also much less likely to have adjusted their privacy setting. Only a third of Facebook users 65 and older have done this, compared with 64 per cent of younger users, according to the survey.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook also updated its privacy settings to make it easier for users to download the data the site had collected about them.

The survey found that around one in 10 Facebook users have downloaded the personal data about them available on Facebook. It also found that almost half of the of the users who did this deleted the app from their cellphone, while 79 per cent adjusted their privacy settings.

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What about Canadians?

After the privacy scandal in March, many Canadians pledged to delete their Facebook accounts.

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An Angus Reid poll, showed almost three-quarters of Canadians said they would change the way they use Facebook.

READ MORE: 3 in 4 Canadians will use Facebook differently after data mining scandal, study says

The findings also stated that twice as many Canadians (32 per cent) believe Facebook has a negative impact on society than those who believe it has a positive one, and 10 per cent of those polled plan to abandon the platform, at least temporarily.

— With files from the Associated Press

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