Facebook’s days may be numbered as UK youth abandon the platform
Facebook is struggling to keep young people involved in its social network as over-55s mass adopt the platform while the youth leave in droves.
Last month saw Facebook’s US user numbers drop for the first time in its history, and now it looks like UK teens will abandon the site in 2018. According to eMarketer (via The Guardian), 2018 will see 2.2 million 12 to 17-year-olds and 4.5 million 18 to 24-year-olds use the platform – 700,000 fewer than in 2017. Because of this drop in number, the number of over-55s on Facebook will soar into its second-largest user demographic as younger users adopt the likes of Snapchat.
In the 55 to 65-year-old bracket, Facebook is looking at having 6.4 million users in 2018, making it the biggest demographic aside from the 16 to 34-year-old slice – which is arguably a lower number if you cut it into a 10-year range.
“There are a couple of factors at play here,” says Richard Broughton, an analyst at Ampere. “One is that older people tend to be late to the internet party, but adoption tends to find its way through the demographics eventually. And with Facebook’s video and photo experience, it is a platform they want to be on to keep up with the social lives of their kids and grandchildren.”
Facebook originally managed to stem the tide of younger users abandoning its service by simply buying the product they were flocking to – Instagram. Now, though, even Instagram is becoming too much for the latest-generation of youngsters who instead see Snapchat as their main platform for social interaction and narcissistic selfie-sharing.
“Facebook has a teen problem,” says Bill Fisher, UK senior analyst at eMarketer. “This latest forecast indicates that it is more than just a theory. Until now it has been able to rely on platform shifters being hoovered up by Instagram. However, leading the charge for younger audiences is Snapchat. There are now some early signs that younger social network users are being swayed by Snapchat.”
Snapchat’s growth over the last three years has more than doubled its rate of adoption up to 43%.
It’s still not quite a cause for concern as Facebook is still the largest social network in the UK, with 32.6 million regular users in the UK alone. Instagram is looking to grow to 18.4 million while rival platforms Snapchat and Twitter are set to grow to 16.2 million and 12.6 million respectively.
This isn’t enough for Facebook though, it has to reign supreme. To ensure it rules over our social lives for many years to come, Zuckerberg and co are working tirelessly to right the many wrongs Facebook has made over the last year or so. The first change it made was to promote family and friend-made content over that of posts from publications or fan pages, so to create a sense of community once again. It’s now also detailed plans to bring breaking news to its Facebook Video platform in the US and open up paywall options to publications that use paywalls on their content.