Facebook has been abandoned by teens, according to a Pew study

By TechThop Team

Posted on: 12 Aug, 2022

Teens are rapidly using Facebook at a lower rate than Gen Z. Facebook is only used by 32% of teens aged 13-17, according to a study by Pew Research Center on teens, technology, and social media. However, it was 71% of teens employed in a previous survey from 2014-2015.

It's no secret that teens no longer find Facebook useful, according to Jules Terpak, a Gen Z content creator covering digital culture.

The number of social media platforms we can scroll through endlessly is well over five, and compartmentalizing and prioritizing our relationships with all of them is not sustainable,' Terpak said. To save time and sanity, people must eliminate platforms lacking value-add.

Terpak thinks Gen Z doesn't need Facebook, which teens associate with their parents. Gen Z is attracted to platforms that exude the energy of spam emails, not Facebook's culture. The platform still evoked negative feelings among young users even in 2013, when 77% of online teens were on Facebook.

“While Facebook remains deeply ingrained in teens' daily lives, it is sometimes viewed as a utility and an obligation rather than an exciting new platform they can claim for themselves,” Pew reported in 2013. 

Even when teens didn't use other platforms as much as Facebook, Pew found that they expressed more enthusiasm for other platforms. New generations of teens have almost abandoned Facebook altogether as they join social media.

According to documents leaked by whistleblower Frances Haugen, Pew's new findings are also in line with Facebook's own internal reporting, which is consistent with what Pew has published in the past. 

The number of teenage users on Facebook's app had declined 13% since 2019 and was expected to continue to drop 45% over the next two years, according to a Facebook researcher in early 2021.

Facebook's users have indeed remained relatively stagnant, but this drop-off in a key demographic is bad news for the company's ads business, which represents the bulk of its revenue.

According to a 2021 internal Facebook document obtained by The Verge, most young adults believe Facebook belongs to people in their 40s and 50s. Content is perceived as boring, misleading, and negative by young adults.

Instagram, another Meta platform, is still popular among teens. According to our survey, 62% of teens use Instagram. While TikTok hadn't even been released when the last study was done, 67% of teens now use it. 

YouTube is used by 95 percent of teens, which makes it seem like the dominant social platform. However, many YouTube users use it simply to view videos, rather than to interact with others. The 95% includes teens who listen to music on YouTube.

Understandably, Instagram and Snapchat are vying for the hearts of American teens by copying TikTok, which is used by 62% and 59% of them, respectively.

The 1,316 teens surveyed by Pew were also asked about their frequency of use of these apps. Despite that, teens spent more time on TikTok than any other platform except YouTube, which 19% of teens say they use regularly. 

There was an 'almost constant attention' given to TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat by 16%, 10%, and 15% of teens, respectively. Facebook was only mentioned by 2% of respondents.

Teenagers are aware that social media may not always provide them with the social connections they desire, despite these 'almost constant' admissions. Social media is too much of a time-sink for 36 percent of teens. On the other hand, only 8% of teens think they use social media too little.

There might be more phone-addicted zombies in Gen Z than you think. Fourty-five percent of teens said they wouldn't have difficulty giving up social media. They deserve more credit.

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