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Teens abandoning Facebook as older folk crowd the network

By Sheetal Sukhija, Illinois State News
13 Feb 2018, 11:09 GMT+10

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - Recent research has revealed that Facebook is losing young users to Snapchat, as older people continue to take Facebook’s user count upwards.

The social media powerhouse is also losing users to Snapchat, a network on which teenagers believe they have greater control over.

Research has shown that younger users like platforms that emphasize visuals, and they like sharing posts away from adults’ prying eyes. 

While the migration from Facebook to Snapchat was expected, it is believed to be happening even faster than previously expected.

According to a forecast from New York-based market research company eMarketer, the number of Facebook users ages 12 to 17 is expected to decrease by 5.6 percent in 2018.

This, the researchers said means that for the first time, less than half of U.S. internet users in that age group are expected to use Facebook at least once a month in 2018.

Further, eMarketer has said that overall, Facebook is expected to lose 2 million users who are 24 or younger this year. 

Meanwhile, Snapchat is expected to add 1.9 million users in that age group.

However, currently, Instagram is still bigger in the U.S. than Snapchat. 

Yet, it is only expected to add 1.6 million users in the 24 and younger group this year.

Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at eMarketer has said that posts and messages on Snapchat disappear after a short time, and that makes it fun for the younger age group.

She added, “(It’s) less likely that you’re going to go, ‘Oh gosh, a year ago I sent that or posted that? Ew.’ Whereas on Facebook, people of older generations, that doesn’t necessarily matter to them. They like that posterity.”

While Facebook continues to add monthly users, it is doing so slowly.

eMarketer forecasts that it is expected to hit 169.5 million users in the U.S. this year, up less than 1 percent from 2017. 

Further, people aged 55 and above make up 22.5 percent of those users, second only to the 25 to 34 age group.

Molly Lynch, founder of Chicago-based Lynch Communications Group has said, “That’s why it’s uncool to that group who is 14 years old and they want to share what they’re doing with their friends but they don’t want grandma to see.”

Lynch explained that younger users feel like they have control on Snapchat. 

He added that businesses choosing to advertise on any social media platform will really have to define their target audience and figure out where they’re going to be.

Adding, “Right now, Facebook won’t go away. It just won’t be as cool to certain age groups.”

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