Young Users Unfriending Facebook

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For the first time since its creation, less than half of U.S. internet users between the ages of 12 and 17 are predicted to use Facebook at least once per year through any device, according to eMarketer's latest forecast on social network usage. However, more than half of American teens are expected to switch over to Snapchat this year itself. In 2018, 83% of social network users aged 18-24 will be Facebook users, this share will drop to 81.5% by 2021. For the first time in Facebook history, this year, less than half of all USA internet users that fall in that age category are predicted to use Facebook at least once a month.

This time a year ago, the Children's Commissioner warned that the "incomprehensible" terms and conditions of social networks meant that children had little idea of what they were signing up to. Snapchat, for example, will increase users in the aforementioned demographic range by 1.9 million, while continuing its superiority in the specific 12- to 24-year-old age group over that of Instagram.

The same trend is expected to continue into 2019 and 2020, with declines in all segments of USA users under 25, the report added. The research firm, which bases its analysis on survey and traffic data from research firms and regulatory agencies, Facebook press releases, historical trends, Internet and mobile trends and other factors, says Snapchat will continue to have more users ages 12 to 24 than Instagram.

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While Facebook aims to decrease the amount of brand posts on the News Feed while increasing posts from friends, those two things have always been separate for Snapchat.

Of course, "that's the predicament Facebook is in", Williamson notes.

Facebook has taken steps to appeal to younger users, including the December rollout of the Messenger Kids app aimed children under age 13.

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The age group younger than 25 years old is typically considered Gen Z, while the cohort directly older are millennials. Maybe platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are just better at providing engaging links to the users personal community. Snapchat's popularity with teens and young adults has grown significantly since the platform first launched in 2011. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the firm's latest report. That's why Snapchat and Instagram work well for them.

As Snapchat matures, however, it has the opposite problem to Facebook: It needs to attract older people in order to grow further. Snapchat will increase to 86.5 million users or 9.3%. That would make the over 55 crowd the second largest demographic after 25 to 34-year-olds.

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