After countless years of being the dominant social media platform for teenagers, Facebook is beginning to lose younger users in droves, according to a recent report. Younger web browsers are beginning to flee the platform in surprisingly larger numbers in favor of competitor sites like YouTube, though Facebook-owned Instagram is also seeing a sizable uptick in users.
According to a new report by the Pew Research Center, titled “Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018,” Facebook remains an incredibly popular online platform, though it’s beginning to seriously lose ground to competitors when it comes to younger users. The iconic social media behemoth is no longer the most popular service amongst American teens, for instance, with only 51 percent of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 saying they use the service.
More teens in this age group profess to be using other popular online platforms more, with YouTube dominating other platforms with a whopping 85 percent of respondents saying they use it. Other popular platforms include Instagram, which is itself owned by Facebook, and Snapchat which is similar to Instagram. Facebook-owned Instagram took in 72 percent of respondents, with Snapchat also beating Facebook with 69 percent of respondents.
Facebook’s flagging figures amongst younger users comes on the heels of a massive PR scandal that saw tens of millions of users embroiled in a data breach. According to The Guardian, Facebook contacted some 87 million users who were impacted in the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, some of whom had their data improperly accessed by the company.
The study also researched the general online habits of teenagers, with 45 percent of respondents noting that they were online “almost constantly,” nearly double the 24 percent who said so in 2014-2015. The overwhelmingly vast majority of teenagers have access to the internet in some form; for those who lack access to a traditional desktop or laptop computer, some 95 percent of teens now have or have access to a smartphone with internet capabilities.
“Smartphone ownership is nearly universal among teens of different genders, races and ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds,” Pew noted.
Despite the widespread disinterest of teens when it comes to Facebook, however, the social media giant, which pioneered the online environment most internet users now find themselves in, is still going strong. Facebook profits recently hit an all-time high, according to the Washington Post, despite its data breach woes and a flagging amount of teenage users.
The company’s first quarter revenue in 2018 grew by 49 percent to hit $12 billion.