Could This be the Beginning of the End for Facebook?

TDB's picture

Via The Daily Bell

“Facebook is for old people,” I was told by a 17-year-old last week in San Francisco at the Startup Societies Summit.

He doesn’t use the social media platform. He’s right too. About half a million fewer teens aged 12-17 will use Facebook this year compared to last year.

Facebook depends on older people for its advertising revenue. But it needs to get users while they are young in order to keep them coming back to the social media website when they are older.

Facebook may be busy cooking up ways to attract the younger crowd, but they will inevitably fail at doing so. It is too late. If I am being told by a teenager that Facebook is for old people, the company probably suffers from an insurmountable branding problem among teens.

If parents are on Facebook, kids aren’t interested.

It’s not time to dig Facebook’s grave just yet.

Instagram is the preferred alternative to Facebook among youngsters. And Facebook owns Instagram.

But Facebook and Instagram are totally different platforms. On Instagram, you share pictures. Sure, you can write a caption and use some hashtags. And plenty of people still share memes. But it is not the personal information clearinghouse that Facebook is… or was.

Facebook is struggling with how to get people to share more personal things on their website. That was the main feature for a while, and probably what made Facebook popular. But now people are moving towards sharing more images, memes, and videos… things you can do on Instagram, Youtube, and Snapchat.

Ironically Facebook’s attempts to compete with other platforms helped depersonalize it. The engagement which made it popular is in the process of evaporating.

…sharing of original, personal content on Facebook declined by 21% between mid-2014 and mid-2015, and by 15% between April 2015 and April 2016, according to the Information.

Facebook addressed this decline in the sharing of personal content as “context collapse.” As users’ networks ballooned and their feeds became crowded with an ever growing pool of links and multimedia content from brands, who could blame them for not sharing? What’s the point of writing on a friend’s Timeline or posting a status update when it won’t be seen?

For me, Facebook is basically just a directory. People I have met and want to network with are added as friends, and then if I need to contact them, I can always send them a Facebook message.

It is also considered necessary to have Facebook pages for businesses or websites. This just adds to the impersonal feeling. People are seeing Facebook as more of an advertising machine, and less as an online social club. They are seeing more news–sure sometimes with their friends’ terrible opinions thrown in–and less about how their friends are feeling.

Facebook needs to know how you are feeling… it is how they advertise to you.

And this highlights why owning Instagram might not be enough for Facebook’s business model. Yes, they will still be alive as a company. But being alive isn’t the same as being an advertising powerhouse.

The reason Facebook is such a good way to advertise is because of the data. They know your “likes” and dislikes. They know what time you are most likely to click, and when you just want to be shown a cute cat video.

In Zuckerberg’s quest for world domination, Instagram just cannot deliver.

Facebook is in the power game by manupulating emotions, and making you feel a certain way. Facebook actually performed a study which manipulated the emotions of over 600,000 users in January 2012. For a week, they showed some people only negative news and status updates, and others only positive stories.

What the targetted users went on to post corresponded with whether or not they were being shown negative or positive things. They even were more likely to post emotional status updates when shown friends’ emotional updates. When they were shown mundane, boring posts, they were more likely to refrain from posting at all.

Facebook basically demonstrated that they can shape your worldview based on the information they throw into your feed.

But Instagram is different. On Instagram, you don’t have “friends.” You can follow someone, and they can follow you back. But they don’t have to. You can have one way follows. And it isn’t that easy for the other person to tell if you follow them, except at the very beginning, or by tediously looking through their follow list.

Sure, Instagram could serve up, or withhold certain images. But it is easy to unfollow friends who are posting stupid political memes without them ever knowing. People want to see beautiful places, architecture, animals, and pictures of friends.

It is a photo platform. Most of the time I don’t even read the description. Most of the time I scroll right past an image with words on it. Yes, they are still going to advertise to me, but my brain immediately recognizes it as an advertisement. They can only go so far without taking me out of the experience. In Facebook, that is all part of the experience, and it is relatively seamless.

So is Facebook going the way of the dinosaurs?

Probably not anytime soon. But I would be surprised if their influence didn’t shrink significantly over the next decade. They are not immune to industry disruption.

Even mighty behemoths of companies are not as safe as they might think. Remember MySpace?

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buzzsaw99's picture

i don't want to see your food, i want to see your shit bitchez.  until people start posting crapper pics i have zero interest in fb.  it is more fun to guess what you ate and make other misc comments about your shit than look at your food while thinking egad you're getting fat, no wonder looking at that pig slop you keep eating.

CanadaGoose's picture

Not even old people, like myself, are interested.  FB surveillance and SJW approach is the the killer.  The site is no longer trusted and is deemed exploitive.  I think the sign of peakage is the number of businesses that are on FB -- typically trailing edge adopters. 

Madcow's picture

AOL ... MySpace ... Facebook ... Instagram .... Snapchat ...  TBD A ... TBD B ... TBD C ... and on and on and on. 


Hope Copy's picture

NeXt.. FACEBOOK merges with IAC.

Madcow's picture

Not only is FB for "old people."  But it seems to be focused more and more on glorifying terrorism and pedophelia, broadcasting live rapes, murders, suicides  ... all while attemting to censure the 'alt-right' for being opposed to that sort of content.  Most parents (at least in some parts of the country) don't want their kids to ingesting wall-to-wall mysogeny and violence.


Truly Inspiration's picture

Facebook just started to censor more than 10000 fb accounts in Germany where people anounce critics to the German government and Merkel.

It's like in the history when they had the Gestapo - just the technology changed.

Facebook is part of the Zionist regime. Why are people so stupid and still use fb?!

gilhgvc's picture

I post shit there just to mess with the algos

Shed Boy's picture

"Facebook basically demonstrated that they can shape your worldview based on the information they throw into your feed." Critical thinking is dead, this is the result. Now the hive mind rules. People are spoon fed the information that TPTB want you to ingest and they eat it up without question.

Glyndwr will return's picture

The correct spelling is Faecebook

P'Od_Accountant's picture

facebook is shit.  get off of it.  

TheAntiProgressive's picture

Facebook shares your "data" with everyone.  Their partners, the CIA the NSA and who knows who else.  It tracks you all around using your cell phone number.  It is run by a bunch of ubber liberal progressive control freak people which should alienate 1/2 it's potential market.  People are catching on and many, myself included, promise to dump this thing but I am still on due to not a very good alternative.  Poor Myspace.  If anyone has a better solution one that allows free speech, and doesn't spy on me all the time then I will use and start promoting with all my deplorable fans.

CanadaGoose's picture

TheAntiProgressive .... have you looked at GAB.IO?

RenoCarlino's picture

Facebook lost it's appeal the moment it became Snitchbook. 

Minburi's picture

Facebook will be around for a long time like AOL.

Insurrector's picture

AOL was recently sold to Verizon.

seataka's picture

If FB is for old people, who are all those big boobed girls who seem so interested in being my freind?


northern vigor's picture

I have fifty face book friends who all hate Trudeau. We send his daily assine deeds to each is endless.

yellowsub's picture

That's because they're all on Snapchat sending pics to each other that supposedly isn't stored...

Kat Daddy's picture

But the photos are stored?

docloxvio's picture

Does anything on the internet, once posted, ever really go away ?

yellowsub's picture

You're right, they stopped saying that in 2014 which wasn't their original premise.

I don't see the reason for them to keep it other than vile purposes.

Sanity Bear's picture

When they first started it didn't go over so well, so they rebranded.

joeyusa's picture


oak's picture

facebook is a redundancy to email and cell phone. it is not a must. who needs it?

bcecil's picture

you will see facebook quickly get bigger then ebay, craigslist and mayby even Amazon.. localized buy and sell groups and even international buy/sell  groups are taking off like rocket.. 20 year olds dont use anything else presently .

Long memory man's picture

Never done it, never will.

whatisthat's picture

I would observe Facebook is an extension for people and businesses who must express themselves in an open forum....

otschelnik's picture

Zukerburg 2020, bitchez.

bloofer's picture

Facebook is about as interesting and engaging as your Facebook friends. Are they building strawbale houses and setting up solar systems? Are they beekeepers, woodworkers, and soap makers?

I do have a few boring Facebook friends--quite a few. Some of the younger ones even post selfies, but, for one reason or another, these are people I have a history with, whom I care about.

Us older people have a long trail of old friends and acquaintances, as well and family members, scattered far and wide. As with real life, many of these people are doofuses, some are fascinating, some are not, and most of them have interesting experiences, or do something interesting, from time to time.

I personally think the Facebook groups are invaluable, if you'd like to learn more about woodworking, soapmaking, home improvement and repair and such.

Amicus Curiae's picture

this funny thing called email..allows you to contact friends directly

and without being spied on and your info sold on

as for interesting things being done?

well theres plenty of Non fuckbook places that youll get better info


Insurrector's picture

Unless it is gmail or yahoo mail, or . . .

yellowlight4570's picture

I've also have never understood the use of Facebook to broadcast to and make public forever messages that could just as well be sent as an email. 

I also pay almost nothing on line, I write checks and mail them and still go to the bank twice a month. I know none of this is the least bit secure but at least everybody and his brother and sister doesn't need to know what's going on in my life.

RedBaron616's picture

Don't worry, your bank knows. If you paid your bills online, your bank knows also. So you are screwed either way. Money orders are about the only way to largely keep your financial head down and I am sure that once you exceed a certain dollar threshold, you are reported to a dozen agencies/organizations/credit bureaus/etc.

shadow54's picture

Perhaps we are looking at the stages of the growing illiteracy.

First the decline from reading real news sites to the semi literacy of facebook.

And to total illiteracy with a generation that texts, tweets and does no more than tiny captions on snap chat.

GodSpeed_00's picture

Never had a Facebook, never will.

Silver Savior's picture

When I keep getting friend requests on face hook from trash whores I never seen in my life that's like bad and stuff right? 

Silver Savior's picture

Face hook is getting pretty shitty lately. Everyone on my feed just wants to fight each other. Most of the annoying pucker lip selfies are gone though because they moved that shit on.

I think only like 10 out of 200 friends are active. It's looking more like my space by the day.

silverer's picture

Disgracebook is a waste of time, and lowers American productivity.