If teens are the litmus test for what’s cool, Facebook is hurdling into mediocrity. A new survey indicates that slightly more than a third of teenagers use Facebook at least once a month, a number that has only decreased over the last few years.
The study from Piper Jaffray, which surveyed more than 8,600 U.S. teens, found that they are quickly steering away from Facebook and gravitating toward Instagram—which Facebook owns—as well as Snapchat. Instagram is basically tied with Snapchat, with 85 percent reporting they use the photo-sharing app at least once a month, compared to Snapchat’s 84 percent. Those are both up from about a third in Spring 2016, but the climb has been relatively gradual.
As for Facebook, the decline among teens has been steeper. In Spring of 2016, monthly usage was at 60 percent. It’s now at 36 percent. Not only are teens using Facebook less, but they actively dislike it more than the other platforms, which is hardly surprising looking at the numbers: Only 5 percent said it was their favorite platform, compared to 46 percent for Snapchat and 32 percent for Instagram. Facebook didn’t even beat Twitter, which came in at 6 percent.
These numbers mirror other like studies that suggest the next generation may not be drinking Facebook’s Kool-Aid even if they’re staying within its corporate confines. A study from Pew Research Center this year found that only 51 percent of 13 to 17-year-old Americans reported that they use Facebook, which was down from 71 percent in 2015. And that same study revealed that 72 percent and 69 percent of those teens use Instagram and Snapchat, respectively.
With 2.23 billion active monthly users, Facebook is still the most powerful social network in the world. But it is hardly the innocuous social network it purported to be when it launched 14 years ago. Aside from simply being an uncool platform, it’s also a platform fueling genocide and mucking up the mechanisms of democracy. Maybe the kids are onto something—even if Instagram has its own issues.