Facebook losing friends as Snapchat lures teens away
Berlin: Facebook Inc. is losing its swagger with young users, who are increasingly migrating to rival platforms including Snapchat, according to a new study.
Facebook will lose 2 million users under 25 in the US this year while Snapchat will add 1.9 million, EMarketer said on Monday, citing its own report. Facebook usage among kids younger than 12 will drop more than 9%, with declines of about 6% each among 12-to-17-year-olds and 18-to-24-year-olds. In the UK, 71% of social network users between 12 and 17 years old will be using Facebook regularly this year, down 8 points from last year’s forecast, EMarketer said. Snapchat will get log-ins from 43% of UK social networkers in 2018, more than double the number three years ago.
While the overall number of Facebook users will reach 169.5 million in the US and 32.6 million in the UK this year—far more than Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter can claim—the drop among younger users means Facebook’s “teen issue” is more than just a theory, said EMarketer analyst Bill Fisher.
“There are now some early signs that younger social networkers are being swayed by Snapchat,” Fisher said. “The challenge and opportunity for Snap is how to appeal beyond that core youth demographic.”
Tech firms are also facing increasing pressure to address their impact on children. In an open letter last month, activist investor Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System urged Apple to create ways for parents to restrict children’s access to their mobile phones.
Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for the EMEA region, said she actively limits the time her own children are allowed to use their phones. “I take phones off my kids at night and we charge them in the hall at home,” she said on Friday. “I actually think it’s good for kids to have a break from it.”