Americans want to delete Instagram more than any other app

Policymakers have long wrestled with tech giants over the potential abuse of encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp and iMessage.
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There are a lot of reasons why you might want to delete a popular app from their phone — and you're far from alone.

Popular social media apps Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat garnered the most internet searches from people looking to delete those apps over a recent six-month period, according to an analysis of search trends from cybersecurity website VPNOverview.

During that period, there were more than 900,000 searches for how to "delete" or "deactivate" Instagram, more than any of the country's 30 most popular apps by downloads, VPNOverview said in its February report.

That was more than double the number of searches for deleting or deactivating Facebook, which VPNOverview said was the app with the second most searches in its analysis, with over 385,000 searches over six months.

The report analyzed search volume for terms related to deleting or deactivating popular apps using the website and data from web analytics company Similarweb. These five apps appeared most often:

  1. Instagram (900,120 searches)
  2. Facebook (385,410)
  3. Snapchat (217,400)
  4. Twitter (92,490)
  5. Telegram (24,819)

On the one hand, it stands to reason that Instagram and Facebook — both of which are owned by Meta — would have the most people interested in deleting them, because they're already on many people's phones.

Instagram, for example, was the second-most downloaded app of 2022, with more than 548 million global downloads — trailing only TikTok's 672 million, according to the BusinessofApps. The app isn't in danger of disappearing any time soon.

But Meta's top platforms saw user growth stagnate and engagement decline in 2022. And in recent years, polls have shown growing distrust of popular social media platforms over issues like disinformation, cyberbullying, phishing scams, privacy concerns and data mining.

Meta didn't immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.

Some users are also concerned about the impact of social media on the mental health of children and teens. Meta's own leaked internal studies have revealed the negative effects that heavy Instagram and Facebook usage can have on young users.

And, while the majority of teens today are willing to take breaks from social media, they're also mostly split on whether they could give up social media altogether. Last year, 54% of teens surveyed by the Pew Center said it would be "hard" to give up social media completely. Forty-six percent said it would be "easy," including 20% who said it would be "very easy."

In the same survey, 62% of teens surveyed said they use Instagram. Only 32% said they use Facebook.

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