Skip to main content

Facebook's popularity slips again among teens

Facebook's popularity slips again among teens


'Not trustworthy, not fun' say US teenagers

Share this story

Facebook’s popularity among teenagers is continuing to slip, with younger users increasingly turning to messaging apps and Twitter instead. A new report by Frank N. Magid Associates and reported by Bloomberg found that Facebook usage among 13-to-17-year-olds in the US had fallen from 95 percent in 2012 to 94 percent in 2013 and to 88 percent in 2014, while Twitter rose by 2 percent to 48 percent usage in the same period.

Just 9 percent of teens described Facebook as "safe"

It’s a small but telling decline in what is arguably Facebook’s most important demographic: the young Americans that are not only the lynchpin of the company’s advertising success but a bellwether for its future popularity. One reason for teens leaving the site was its perceived untrustworthiness. Just 9 percent of those surveyed described Facebook as "safe" or "trustworthy" while 30 percent were happy using those same words to talk about Pinterest.

Facebook’s slow decline in popularity among teens is not new of course. A similar study earlier this month helpfully concluded that the site just wasn’t "cool" any more, while another published in October found usage among 13-to-19-year-olds had fallen far more dramatically: plummeting from 72 percent to 45 percent from spring to fall 2014.

Reasons for teens leaving are varied, but many studies suggest "boredom"

The blame for this decline falls variously on the site’s aging demographic (who wants to hang out with mom and dad?); an apparent hostility to a ‘fixed social identity:’ and the glut of messaging and photography apps that have adapted better to the mobile landscape. Many reports just end with the analytic equivalent of a shrug: "Teens," they say, "who even knows with them, right?" For Facebook, though, the problem is perhaps not as great as it seems. Two of the most popular destinations for teens leaving the site are owned by the company: WhatsApp and Instagram. The younger generation may think they're leaving the nest, but they're still part of the big Facebook family.