Widely considered the first significant online social network, Facebook has been redefining the way we connect for over a decade. But despite its influential status, the popularity of the social media site has been slowly dwindling over the past several years, especially among the under-25 crowd. And a newly-released survey confirms that Facebook usage has plummeted among American teens.
It may not be surprising that teens are using Facebook less, but this year’s decrease in usage is significant. The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center and published yesterday, May 31st, found that just 51% of 13- to 17-year-olds use Facebook regularly. While that’s still a majority, it’s far less than the number of teens who say they use YouTube (85%), Instagram (72%), and Snapchat (69%).
There’s also a dramatic difference between these findings and the result of Pew’s last survey in 2015. Three years ago, 71% of those surveyed used Facebook, while only 52% used Instagram, and 41% used Snapchat. (YouTube wasn’t part of the survey back then.) On top of that, almost all teenagers (95%) have smartphones now, compared to 73% three years ago.
Additionally, although research has shown that using social media can be harmful to your mental health, most teens surveyed in 2018 had a positive (31%) or neutral (45%) opinion of it.
Facebook has been the subject of some intense backlash over the past year. Between the Cambridge Analytica data leak and the spread of fake news articles, many have considered deleting their accounts. The company has taken steps to address privacy concerns, but only time will tell if the site can turn these numbers around.
And who knows? Maybe three years from now, teens will be using a site that hasn’t even been invented yet. We’ll just have to wait and see…