While Mark Zuckerberg is busy espousing virtues on Universal Basic Incomes, the deep divide in America, free-speech 'control', and what being president means; his billion-dollar-baby social network may have a problem.
This year, the world’s largest social network will see a decline among teen users in the U.S., according to a forecast by EMarketer. It’s the first time the research company has predicted a fall in Facebook usage for any age group.
Vanity Fair notes that for years Facebook has faced a lingering problem with one of its core constituencies: teenagers, the most fickle tech demographic, don’t think it’s cool.
Facebook, to its credit, saw the phenomenon coming: in a 2013 earnings call, then Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman acknowledged that teens were logging off the social network in growing numbers.
“We did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens,” Ebersman said. And the problem hasn’t gone away.
According to a 2014 survey conducted by Piper Jaffray, Facebook use among teenagers ages 13 to 19 dropped from 72 percent to 45 percent. In 2015, teens left Facebook because they found it “meaningless”.
For a company that relies, in part, on converting young adoptees into lifetime users, a teen exodus could create a demographic time bomb.
However, a new report from eMarketer suggests that Facebook’s 12- to 17-year-old user base in the U.S. will decrease by 3.4 percent this year - the first time eMarketer has predicted a decline among any age group in Facebook usage.
Its estimates for Facebook users who are 18 to 24 years old “will grow more slowly than previously forecast, too,” according to the firm.
Even worse, there’s now a group of children the firm calls “Facebook-nevers,” who are becoming tweens and skipping Facebook entirely.
Oscar Orozco, a forecasting analyst at eMarketer, told Bloomberg.
“Teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged - logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform,” Orozco said.
“At the same time, we now have Facebook-nevers, many children aging into the tween demographic that appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram.”
Leaving us to ask just one question... Did Facebook just peak?