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Facebook’s Popularity Is Falling As Young People Shift Their Attention To Other Platforms

By the end of 2018, Snapchat is set to overtake Facebook as the most popular social media platform for people aged 18 to 24 in the United Kingdom. The photo-focused, fast-messaging platform already won over the young teen demographic last year.

Analysts have dubbed the younger generation who have never used Facebook as the “Facebook-nevers,” and this growing group is seriously affecting Facebook’s user growth and its market value. Facebook saw the biggest ever one-day drop in a company’s market value when it lost $120 billion last July, sending founder Mark Zuckerberg from the third richest person on the planet to the sixth richest.

Despite Facebook’s diminishing popularity among young users, the Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed that almost two-thirds of marketers named Facebook as the most important social platform. It is still the biggest social media player in the United Kingdom over all age groups, largely supported by a growing user base of people 55 and older. This demographic will account for about 6.5 million of Facebook users, while 18 to 24-year-olds make up only 4.5 million users.

This same group of early 20-somethings are turning their attention to more mobile-friendly social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Snapchat is projected to inch out Facebook in number of users, with just under 5 million total users by the end of the year. Instagram is projected to have a total of 4.2 million users in the same demographic and 19 million users total. In 2012 Facebook purchased Instagram, a platform centered on posting photos and daily stories.

This shift in social media usage is occurring at the same time as negative content posted on Facebook is coming to light. According to the New York Times, an academic paper found that when per-person Facebook use rose one standard deviation about the national average, attacks on refugees in that country rose by about 50%.

In the last few months evidence has come out about Facebook’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election, and in the last week Facebook revealed that accounts based in Iran were peddling propaganda on the platform. When coupled with the founded xenophobic correlation, the popular social media platform is starting to garner a bad reputation.

Facebook’s worldwide usage creates an open forum for everyone to express their ideas and people with similar ideologies tend to create groups on the platform. The aforementioned Times article suggests that very active users who become unofficial community leaders, known as “superposters,” influence others as their once-distasteful ideas become the norm.

Although the company has recently implemented new privacy policies to protect against some of these risks, there have also been suggestions for content regulation on Facebook, such as a supreme court for content moderation or the ability to exercise editorial control.

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