Facebook ‘site for old people’, teens switch to Snapchat and Instagram

SAN FRANCISCO: Manon, 17, has a Facebook account but to connect with her friends she turns to other social networks like Instagram or Snapchat. “I don’t use it to post status updates or personal information,” the San Francisco teen says.

Manon maintains her Facebook account to be able to stay in touch with the large number of users on the huge social network and as a “gateway” to log into other apps. “But to communicate with my friends, it’s Snapchat,” the high schooler said. “Everyone says Facebook is out of date. I think it’s because all the parents are on Facebook.”

As Facebook has grown into a network of more than two billion people globally it has lost its luster for younger users who made up a core base. While Facebook has become one of the world’s most valuable and powerful companies, it’s no longer seen as a cool destination for teens, who are turning to Snapchat and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

According to a Pew Research Center survey this year, 51% of US teens use Facebook, compared with 72% for Instagram and 69% who are on Snapchat. The survey found 85% used the Google video sharing service YouTube. The landscape has shifted since a 2014-15 Pew survey which found Facebook leading other social networks with 71% of the teen segment.

“The social media environment among teens is quite different from what it was just three years ago,” said Pew researcher Monica Anderson. “Back then, teens’ social media use mostly revolved around Facebook. Today, their habits revolve less around a single platform.” According to a Forrester Research survey 34% of US online youth view Facebook “as a website for old people and parents.”

With 2.2 billion users, Facebook still has a big lead over Snapchat and Twitter. But the trends show services like Instagram and Snapchat have become the new, cool place for young smartphone users.