Kids avoid Facebook, more grandparents join the platform

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Facebook has tried to stem an exodus to Snapchat with measures such as a new version of its Messenger app for children

The largest growth will be among older users, with 500,000 new over-55s expected to join Facebook this year.

It's not just teens that are losing interest in Facebook: the website is predicted to lose 2 million users who are 24 or younger in 2018, while Snapchat is expected to gain 1.9 million users from the same age group. That means that for the first time, less than half of USA internet users in that age group are expected to use Facebook at least once a month in 2018. This year, the app is set to add 1.9 million U.S. users under the age of 25.

Instagram will add 1.6 million users ages 24 and younger.

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"This is a logical outcome of the "ageing" of Facebook as a proposition and a well-known environment, and the inevitable emergence of newer social platforms offering the buzz of new features and functions", Karina von Abrams added, principal analysist at eMarketer. This year, less than half of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 will log on to Facebook even once during any given month. That's nearly three times the decline expected.

Facebook is the dominant social media platform on the planet and it will still be in that position tomorrow. But the news isn't all bad.

Facebook is in the data business, so this kind of thing was always going to happen. But they may be missing the point. "With the wide variety of social media out there, it's easy for everyone to find something that fits them well".

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Facebook, of course, is not oblivious to its declining popularity among youth.

On the other hand, Facebook is increasingly popular with people over 55 years old in the United States, and especially with people 65 or older. Until now it has been able to rely on platform shifters being hoovered up by Instagram. While Facebook continues to build monthly users overall, that increase is largely driven by older users, the firm found. And a recent update even more strictly delineated the two. The new design has a page for publishers and a page for friends. For people whose whole lives have seen unavoidable internet ads, that might be a welcome relief.

That's more than double the "penetration rate" Snapchat had achieved just three years ago. In addition to the stereotypical uncool mom and dad (and grandma and grandpa), kids usually don't want older family members seeing what they're talking about. "There are now some early signs that younger social network users are being swayed by Snapchat". "That's the predicament Facebook is in", he added.

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The nature of Snapchat's design, however, defaults away from everyone seeing what users post.

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