“Mum has a doctorate in Facebook medicine,” one of our users told us.
Old people and fake news. Is that what Facebook has become synonymous with in the minds of young people?
Because the social media giant is certainly unpopular with teens. Our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report found that only 29% of 15-year-olds use Facebook regularly compared to 83% who use Instagram regularly. Interestingly, Facebook is hardly used by younger teens but grows in usage as they get older, as seen below.
Does this mean that as people get older they’re more likely to use Facebook?
Or does this reflect an emerging generational divide where younger Gen Zs are simply off Facebook?
The fall of Facebook for Gen Z
Launched in 2004, Facebook became ‘a Millennial thing’ as Gen Ys grew accustomed to the app’s ways of connecting and sharing with friends during its early success. The last half-decade has seen a surge of older generations, further changing the dynamics on the platform and potentially pushing young people away. Do teens really want to hang out online with their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents?
Our report did find that young people still use Facebook to communicate within smaller groups, and to organise and attend events like parties and petitions. But on top of our findings, a study reported by TechCrunch in December 2019 found that only a tiny percentage of Gen Zs still “broadcast” like how millennials did growing up: 5% of Gen Zs regularly upload photos to Facebook, 4% post on friends’ Walls, and 3.5% post statuses to the Newsfeed.
It’s downhill from here, said writers Oliver Moore and Justine Moore. If Gen Zs aren’t posting, they won’t open the app as often to look for responses. And if they’re only visiting sporadically, Facebook’s algorithms will keep serving up irrelevant content. The once world’s largest social media network will only become less and less interesting, and naturally, young people will migrate to other platforms. A platform like Instagram, that speaks Gen Z language: visual entertainment.
Because young people don’t just want to catch up with family and friends, as Facebook markets itself. They want to engage with eye-catching and meaningful content from content creators, influencers and brands across the globe, whether it’s funny like NSW Police Force (yes, you read it right), thought-provoking like We’re Not Really Strangers, or bite-sized therapy like Your Diagnonsense.
It remains to be seen if the 15-year-olds of today will go onto Facebook as they get older or if they’re simply off it for good. The trend is clear though, Facebook is increasingly becoming a teen-free zone.