Teens And Europe Are Giving up on Facebook; But Instagram is The Surprise Gainer
Facebook is facing a multitude of issues, but the reality is that users are switching off. The silver lining is that Facebook’s sister app, Instagram, is gaining popularity.
Christchurch shootings: New Zealand Firms to Pull Ads From Facebook, Google (Photo: Reuters)
The tough year for Facebook shows no signs of abating. There really is no getting around the fact that people are leaving Facebook, perhaps as a fallout of all the scandals which have dented consumer confidence significantly. Teens are giving up on Facebook, those above the age of 50 simply don’t understand how it works and Europe is set to give Facebook even more headaches.
According to estimates by financial services firm Morgan Stanley, Facebook’s user base in Europe may have stumbled by as much as 1 million, owing to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which kicked in over the summer. This would be a direct result of Facebook requiring hundreds of millions of European users to either opt in to having data collected, as per the new GDPR rules, or stop using the site.
However, in the midst of Facebook’s turmoil, its sister app Instagram is the big gainer. The latest numbers shared by investment banking and asset management firm Piper Jaffray suggest that Facebook’s sister social network, Instagram, has seen a spike in popularity. And it is also hurting its biggest rival, Snapchat, along the way.
The Piper Jaffray Taking Stock With Teens Survey numbers suggest that 85 percent of teens use Instagram at least once per month, compared with 84 percent for Snapchat. The Instagram numbers are up from 81 percent same time last year, though Snapchat has also seen an increase from 82 percent in the same period of 2017.
Last month, numbers released by Pew Research suggested that a whopping 44 percent of those ages 18 to 29 in the US suggest that they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past one year—Pew has surveyed 3,400 Facebook users in May and June this year. Surely, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which became public knowledge earlier this year, would have been fresh in the minds of Facebook users.
However, it is a bit more complicated than that. The research also suggested that 26 percent of the survey respondents confirmed to having deleted the Facebook app, 42 percent said that they were temporarily “taking a break” from the social media platform and 54 percent have adjusted their privacy settings.
There is another big challenge for Facebook—a lot of its users simply don’t understand how the News Feed works. Pew Research, 53 percent of US adults who use Facebook do not understand how the News Feed works, how the content that they see is chosen to be there and why some content is given priority over other posts. The same research suggests that only 38 percent of respondents above the age of 50 understand the dynamics of the Facebook News Feed. "They don’t feel like they have a lot of agency or control over the content that they are getting, and many of them have not actively attempted to change or shift that content. That’s particularly true for older users," said Aaron Smith, Pew's associate director of research on internet and technology issues, in an official statement.
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