Facebook sinking fast among US teens: Survey

A survey has revealed that 51 per cent of US teens ages 13 to 17 use Facebook, compared with 85 per cent for YouTube, 72 per cent for Instagram and 69 per cent who are on Snapchat.
A survey has revealed that 51 per cent of US teens ages 13 to 17 use Facebook, compared with 85 per cent for YouTube, 72 per cent for Instagram and 69 per cent who are on Snapchat.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Facebook is rapidly losing ground against rival Internet platforms in attracting and keeping US teenagers, a survey has found.

The Pew Research Center report confirms a trend seen in other surveys, showing a sharp drop in Facebook's share of what had long been a core age segment for the huge social network.

The survey released on Thursday (May 31) found 51 per cent of US teens ages 13 to 17 use Facebook, compared with 85 per cent for YouTube, 72 per cent for Instagram and 69 per cent who are on Snapchat.

The landscape has shifted since a 2014-15 Pew survey which found Facebook leading other social networks with 71 per cent of the teen segment.

According to the survey, 95 per cent of the teens survey said they used a smartphone and 45 per cent were online "almost constantly," with both figures showing increases from prior surveys.

"The social media environment among teens is quite different from what it was just three years ago," said Pew researcher Monica Anderson, the lead author of the report.

"Back then, teens' social media use mostly revolved around Facebook. Today, their habits revolve less around a single platform. At the same time we've seen this shift, teens are more digitally connected than ever."

The survey showed a split over the impact of social media on the lives of the teens.

Pew found 31 per cent said social media has had a mostly positive impact, with 24 per cent describing its effect as mostly negative. The remaining 45 per cent said it was neither.

Those who reported a positive impact cited the ability to stay connected, find news and people with similar interests.

Others who found social media harmful cited the potential for online bullying, spreading of false information and addiction.

Facebook is the world's biggest social network with some two billion regular users.

But some surveys and analysts suggest it is losing appeal to younger users amid a rise in services like Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram.

A report earlier this year by the research firm eMarketer said Snapchat is drawing youths away from Facebook at a quicker clip than Facebook-owned Instagram.

According to eMarketer, Facebook will lose two million US users under the age 24 this year, offsetting those losses with gains among older users.

A report last year (2017) by investment firm Piper Jaffray showed Snapchat is the preferred social network for US teens, with 47 per cent using the platform.