It’s a trend that has been going on for the past couple years, but Facebook continues to perform less admirably with younger generations than apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Perhaps it’s because Facebook is so outward-facing while Instagram and Snapchat can be more tailored to private interactions; American research firm eMarketer took a look at Facebook’s numbers and estimated that “monthly users aged between 12-17 will fall 3.4 million to 14.5 million by the end of 2017.”
Facebook has disputed the findings with news.com.au, citing a 2016 study that showed 90% of Australian teens aged 14-17 used Facebook. However, Felicity Duncan, an assistant Professor of Social Media, says that having a Facebook account and actually using it are two very different things.
In that same study, only 56 percent of teens called Facebook their “main social media account”; almost 20 percent preferred Snapchat, and 11 percent preferred Instagram.
Experts cite the shift in demographic on Facebook as a contributing factor to the slacking engagement from Gen Z’ers, as more parents, aunts, uncles, and older relatives have become more active on the platform. It’s no longer the “cool” place to be, as users might have to more closely police their activity to shield themselves from the scorn of their elders.
Global Futurist Chris Riddell says that Facebook will adapt and change as a result. He predicts that Facebook will become more of a marketplace that will enable “frictionless micropayment technology” in order to “pay and have delivered items you see without getting your credit card details out.”