Facebook’s popularity among teens dips again this year

Published December 21, 2014
The "Facebook" logo is seen on a tablet screen. — AFP/File
The "Facebook" logo is seen on a tablet screen. — AFP/File

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook is getting less and less cool, at least among teens.

A latest report by Frank N. Magid Associates Inc. found that the portion of 13- to 17-year-old social-media users in the United States on Facebook slipped to 88 per cent this year from 94pc in 2013 and 95pc in 2012. In the same period, Twitter and messaging applications rose in popularity in that age group, the study showed.

The Menlo Park, California-based company first warned a year ago that teens weren’t using its website as often as before. Facebook stopped discussing teen usage on its earnings calls after last year’s disclosure alarmed investors. While the issue was all but forgotten as the company’s advertising revenue reached new highs, it’s a bigger concern now, according to Tero Kuittinen, a managing director at Magid in New York.

“You look at Facebook and you say, ‘Wow, something really changed in 2014,’” Kuittinen said. “If kids are starting to use so much of their daily time on messaging apps, surely it’s going to hurt somebody.”

Among 13- to 17 year-olds, Twitter usage climbed 2 percentage points to 48pc, according to the report.

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has been working to diversify the company’s offering beyond the main Facebook application. He acquired Instagram, the photo-sharing application, in 2012 for less than $1 billion. This year, Facebook also purchased messaging application WhatsApp Inc. for about $18 billion.

The Instagram purchase is showing gains, with Citigroup Inc. estimating the app is worth $35 billion, due to its faster- than-anticipated user growth. Instagram is especially popular among younger users, too.

By arrangement with Washington Post-Bloomberg News Service

Published in Dawn December 21th , 2014

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