Why an increasing number of young people are abandoning Facebook


Facebook is shedding young people more quickly than anticipated, according to a study from research firm eMarketer with rival Snapchat potentially “siphoning away” users.

Under half of U.S. 12- to 17-year-olds in 2018 will access Facebook at least once a month, the outside group found. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network this year will drop 2 million users aged 24 and under, eMarketer projected, while Snapchat will tack on 1.9 million in the coveted age range. The Facebook, Inc.-owned Instagram, still on track to best Snapchat in overall user base, will add 1.6 million users under 24.

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“Snapchat could eventually experience more growth in older age groups, since it’s redesigning its platform to be easier to use,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said in a statement. “The question will be whether younger users will still find Snapchat cool if more of their parents and grandparents are on it. That’s the predicament Facebook is in.”

The breakdown by age group paints its own grim picture: American Facebook users 11 and below will decrease by 9.3% in 2018; the 12-to-17 bracket will dip by 5.6% and users aged 18 to 24 will decline by 5.8%. While Facebook continues to build monthly users overall, that increase is largely driven by older users, the firm found.

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An August eMarketer analysis suggested teens and tweens found Snapchat and Instagram more appealing for their visual content, while those still left on Facebook seemed to be less engaged with the platform. Meanwhile, a so-called “Facebook-nevers” tween demo is skipping the site entirely.

Facebook can take some solace in its overall user base: Its U.S. users will total 169.5 million in 2018, according to eMarketer, while Snapchat’s will reach 86.5 million. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the firm’s latest report.