Facebook Heads Back To The Start With Teenage Exodus


The data released by iStrategy Labs stating an eyebrow-raising 3.3 million teenagers have left Facebook is certainly alarming, but is the “so not cool” factor the real cause of these numbers? From January 2011 to January 2014, 3.3 million teens in the 13 to 17-year-old bracket and 3.4 million from the 18 to 24-year-old bracket have left the social media site. Many have claimed that during those three years, people who fell under a younger age bracket could have moved into a higher one, accounting for the “loss” in user numbers for those ages.

However, as Ryan W. Neal states in his article about the data, “even accounting for those who grew out of the youth demographics since the last report, there are still 6.7 million fewer people” who have either terminated their account or have avoided signing up in the first place.

Although 6.7 million is, at the moment, a drop in the bucket for Facebook, it would be curious to crunch the empirical evidence again in another three years. Should this make us wonder if other social sights such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and – dare I say it – Google+, have caught the attention of a younger generation?

It’s often difficult to keep track of so many social media sights, but one explanation for the decrease in numbers could be parents limiting their teen to a “pick just one” option, for which I would assume most teens have begun gravitating towards Twitter, as it’s the newest and latest fad.

Smartphone apps such as Vine, Snapchat and even Tinder may account for a slice of the quantitative pie as well.

But the most blatant reason for the loss of users may be the overly aggressive and invasive advertisements and privacy issues. Two subjects younger generations are becoming increasing wary over.

Ads for Sprint, Farmville, and credit cards not only invade the sidebar, but also the newsfeed itself. Yes, there are ways to remove such unwanted spam on the newsfeed, but the principle of the matter is – it’s irritating.

The privacy issues are most likely to blame for those leaving the social network or for not signing up in the first place (not to mention the hacking horror stories). Let’s face it, it’s like sifting through a dense muck trying to find the right privacy setting you’re looking for.

On the other side of the table, this could be music to die-hard Facebook users ears. The fact that millions of teens are leaving the social network means that it is finally getting back to Mark Zuckerberg’s original intention for launching the site in the first place: for college students and college grads to keep in touch with one another.

The more “mature” Facebook users could be finally catching a break as younger internet goers seek social attention elsewhere on newer, more “in” sites, leaving the people who want to keep in touch with friends in a cordial manner and who want to show, not to brag, to their closest friends about where they traveled for their family vacation, honeymoon, or business conference.

Sure, there’s bound to be a Saturday night picture or two in your news feed, but hey, we can handle that. No more selfies (we can dream, right?), no more online fights and arguments on someone’s status that inexplicably show up on the top of your news feed due to some mysterious Facebook algorithm, no more, well…you get the idea. Rejoice!

Countering the teenage drop, there has been a 64.8% increase in users who are college alumni alone. This is no MySpace, and it’s alarming to think that Facebook was attempting to appeal to a younger crowd (it’s all about the profit). Facebook has also seen an increase of 10.8 million in adults aged 25 to 34, one reason for such an increase could be job stability. It’s well known in the college world that employers can get access to your account, and depending on what content you have on said account (pictures of you playing pong might not appeal) students may not get a job.

But the most striking bit of data released in this report was the whopping 80.4% growth in users aged 55 and older. The reasoning for such an increase would certainly warrant a further study.

So what does this mean now for investors and the future of Facebook? Well, what comes up must, eventually, come down, and it’s only a matter of time Facebook goes the way of the Dodo bird. But for the time being, it could be safe to say that Facebook will continue to experience a steady, though less dramatic, incline in profits as well as users that will hopefully keep investors and shareholders happy.

Audrey Strasenburgh

Audrey Strasenburgh

Associate Editor at The Chiefly
Born and raised in Rochester, NY, a graduate of St. Lawrence University with a passion for the sport of rowing. A current rowing coach, avid hiker and skier with the lifetime goal of sampling every beer ever made.
Audrey Strasenburgh
Audrey Strasenburgh
Audrey Strasenburgh
Audrey Strasenburgh

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