Survey and focus group evidence suggests a combination of push and pull factors at play. Consumers are being put off by toxic debates and unreliable news, but they are also finding that alternative networks offer more convenience, greater privacy, and less opportunity to be misunderstood.
One common theory is that people’s Facebook networks have got so big over time that they no longer feel comfortable sharing content openly. As a result, they are moving discussion to messaging apps where they can be sure that they are talking to ‘real friends’. This is sometimes referred to as context collapse, 6 an idea reflected in these focus group comments.