Youngsters are quitting Facebook in their droves - TechCentral

Youngsters are quitting Facebook in their droves

Facebook is losing its swagger with young users, who are increasingly migrating to rival platforms including Snapchat, according to a new study.

Seventy-one percent of UK social network users between 12 years and 17 years old will be using Facebook regularly this year, a downgrade of eight points from last year’s forecast, EMarketer said on Monday, citing its own report. Children are increasingly moving to Snapchat, which will get logins from 43% of UK social networkers in 2018, more than double the rate of three years ago.

In the US last year, 68.5% of social media users at age 12 to 17 years old used Facebook, down from 90% in 2013, according to EMarketer. Eighty-nine percent were using Snapchat, up from 29% four years ago.

Facebook has tried to stem an exodus to Snapchat with measures such as a new version of its Messenger app for children. While the overall number of Facebook users in the UK will reach 32.6m this year — far more than Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter can claim — the drop among younger users means Facebook’s “teen issue” is more than just a theory, said Bill Fisher, an analyst at EMarketer.

“There are now some early signs that younger social networkers are being swayed by Snapchat,” Fisher said. “The challenge and opportunity for Snap is how to appeal beyond that core youth demographic.”

Technology companies are also facing increasing pressure to address their impact on the mental health of children. In an open letter to Apple dated 6 January, activist investor Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System urged Apple to create ways for parents to restrict children’s access to their mobile phones. They also want the company to study the effects of heavy usage on mental health.  — Reported by Stefan Nicola, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

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