Is Facebook dead?
That’s the unthinkable question investors are asking themselves following Meta’s unprecedented $332b share price drop last week, as the startling 26.4% collapse sent ripples around the tech world.
The catalyst for Wall Street’s biggest one-day drop in history on the eve of the 18th anniversary of Facebook’s founding?
Meta’s dismal forecast for the year ahead and reports that Facebook’s user growth is not only stalling, but daily active users are actually declining for the first time.
And the culprit?
A youth exodus from the Meta company’s flagship platform.
Yup. Millennials – who older generations have taken great pleasure in blaming for ‘killing’ dozens of industries from cable TV to diamonds – can breathe a sigh of relief.
We can pass the blame baton to Gen Z for this one.
Just 29% of 15 year olds reported using Facebook regularly compared to 83% who use Instagra, according to our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report, which is a staggering decline from a decade ago when 94% of teens had a Facebook account. Our research found regular Facebook usage increased to 39% of 16 year olds compared to 87% for Instagram, and 49% for 17 year olds compared to the 92% of them on Insta.
The pattern is clear – teenagers just aren’t that into it.
Instead, our overall Gen Z figures showed they are increasingly regularly using other platforms like Instagram (89%), YouTube (76%), Snapchat (75%) and TikTok (60%) compared to the 56% on Facebook.
When we asked Gen Zs which social media app was their favourite, Instagram came out on top (32%), followed by SnapChat (20%), TikTok (18%), and YouTube (15%).
Just 4% of young people said Facebook was their fave.
So what’s driving Gen Zs away from the social mogul of the online networking world?
Firstly, Smart Insider suggests Facebook’s efforts to catch up to its rivals could ironically be its downfall. That Facebook’s attempt to ‘outdo’ their rivals could be the very thing that’s repelling Gen Zs.
“They’re too obsessed with the competition,” wrote Carolanne Mangles.
“Facebook may have become too noisy and perhaps is now a crowded platform that offers too many options that other networks offer too.”
Mangles went further on to suggest that through the optimisation process of becoming the ‘mother’ of all social media platforms in one space, “they have neglected to focus on the granular social interactions in real-time between younger users to help increase fun, positive and friendly interaction”.
Translated into Gen Z, that looks like concerns about safety online (specifically online bullying), as well as hate speech and the distribution of ‘fake news’.
All things considered – is it time for Facebook to stop asking Gen Zs what they want, but what they don’t want?