Facebook usage among US teens 'set to drop'

SAN FRANCISCO • Facebook is lucky it owns Instagram.

This year, the world's largest social network will see a decline among teenage users in the United States, according to a forecast by EMarketer. It is the first time the research company has predicted a fall in Facebook usage for any age group.

EMarketer predicts 14.5 million people from the ages of 12 to 17 will use Facebook this year, a drop of 3.4 per cent from the prior year.

Teenagers are migrating instead to Snap's Snapchat and Instagram, the photo-sharing app that Facebook owns, the research company said in a statement on Monday.

Facebook has continued to grow around the world, with more than two billion users this year, but younger people are finding it less compelling, said Mr Oscar Orozco, a forecasting analyst at EMarketer.

The firm needs to attract younger users so they build a Facebook habit that will carry into their adult years when they become prime customers for Facebook advertising.

"Teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged - logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform," Mr Orozco said. "At the same time, we now have Facebook-nevers, many children ageing into the tween demographic who appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram."

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2017, with the headline 'Facebook usage among US teens 'set to drop''. Print Edition | Subscribe