Facebook Admits It’s Losing Teens
The teens and pre-teens who were once Facebook’s most devoted users- and possibly the center of the social network’s growth strategies- are now increasingly turning to other sites. After denying the trend for months, a Facebook executive finally admitted it in a quarterly earnings call this week.
CFO David Ebersman described “a decrease in (teenage) daily users, especially younger teens.”
With Facebook’s massive reach among teens, that doesn’t necessarily mean much, but it’s enough to create concern for the company. Just months ago, Ebersman called Facebook’s teen problem “a urban legend,” and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it “just isn’t true.”
Focus groups in a Pew Research study found that teens were avoiding the website due to the increased presence of adults and the “drama” that could result from usage. Many news stories found similar anecdotal evidence, but it had not been confirmed until now.
Studies and interviews have also found teens increasingly turning towards other social networks. SnapChat, which creates messages and photos that are deleted after a few seconds, can help deal with privacy issues; and Instagram has become the destination that adults haven’t discovered and joined yet. Though originally thought of as a camera filter and photo sharing app, teens have turned it into a way to stay in touch with friends.
This latter news should be good for Facebook, which bought Instagram in the summer of 2012. But Facebook hadn’t monetized the photosharing app until this week, when Instagram unveiled it’s first ads. User response was mostly negative.
Have you noticed teens drifting away from Facebook? Let us know in the Comments.