Could it be that Facebook is turning into social media’s retirement home? Although that question might seem a little bit far-fetched, young people are leaving the social network in droves while increasing numbers of over-55s are signing up. In general, Facebook is struggling to retain its user base and today the social network has an estimated 15 million fewer users in the U.S. than it did in 2017. That’s according to data released on Wednesday by Edison Research which shows that 67% of the population aged over 12 used Facebook in 2017, a figure that stands at 61% today.
Young people are at the center of the exodus while increasing numbers of over-55s are signing up. Back in 2017, Edison Research found that 79% of the coveted 12 to 34-year -old demographic used Facebook and that share now fallen to 62%. The user share in the 35-54 age bracket stood at 72% in 2017 and that fell to 69% in 2018 and remained that way in 2019. The data also shows that the share of people aged 55+ using Facebook grew from 49% to 53% between 2017 and 2019. No wonder all those teenagers were complaining about friend requests from parents, aunts and uncles.
Why are younger users ditching Facebook? While the report did not provide any solid reasons for the downward trend, it could well be that Facebook’s privacy problems and breaches of trust are starting to have an impact. The rapid emergence of Instagram and Snapchat is another solid reason with both platforms highly attractive to younger users due to their simplicity and the fact that they collect less personal information. Instagram is of course owned by Facebook and the user migration problems might force the company into rolling out a universal messaging system in order to put a stop to the exodus. Otherwise, Facebook might eventually have to accept that it’s on the road to becoming social media’s retirement home.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)
Share of the US. population using Facebook by age groupSTATISTA