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Teenagers increasingly moving away from Facebook: eMarketer

13 February 2018

As older people continue to push Facebook's user base higher, teenagers are increasingly moving away from the social media network for a platform they feel they have greater control over: Snapchat.

According to commentators, this should not come as a surprise. They point out though younger users like platforms that emphasise visuals, they like sharing posts away from prying adult eyes. The migration, however, is happening even faster than expected earlier.

The number of Facebook users aged 12 to 17 will decrease by 5.6 per cent in 2018, according to a forecast from New York-based market research company eMarketer.

And the trend is not limited to teens, as overall Facebook is expected to lose 2 million users who are 24 or younger this year, according to eMarketer. On the other hand, Snapchat is projected to add 1.9 million users in that age group.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is still bigger in the US than Snapchat, but is only expected to add 1.6 million users in the 24 and younger group this year.

According to Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at eMarketer, posts and messages on Snapchat disappear after a short time, which makes it fun for the younger age group.

A Piper Jaffray report released in April also said that Snapchat's popularity among teens is increasing. According to the report, Snapchat edged out Instagram in both monthly usage and as the favourite social platform among teens in the US, Snapchat actually saw both numbers rise, even as Instagram held steady with usage and fell as a favourite.

This is the second time in less than six months that eMarketer has warned that Facebook is fast losing appeal for teenagers. According to commentators, it is a grown-up problem for the social network, which needs young users to develop the habit of checking Facebook to show them advertising into adulthood.

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