This is one war Snapchat is winning over Facebook

Muriel Hammond
February 15, 2018

Facebook is losing its young members at an alarming rate, according to new research from eMarketer.

The number of U.S. Facebook users who are 11 and younger will decline by 9.3 percent in 2018, the survey said.

According to this estimates Facebook will lose 2 million users ages 24 and younger this year.

The Guardian reports that 500,000 over-55s are expected to join Facebook this year, meaning there will be 6.4 million people over 55, the second-biggest group after 16-34s. Around 5.8% of those in the 18-24 age bracket will leave the platform.

The social network is still growing but will rely on growth in older age groups. eMarketer predicts Facebook's total US growth will be just 1 percent this year, similar to the growth it saw in the USA and Canada in 2017.

But while the young group have started bailing out from Facebook the older generation has slowly started adapting the social media platform to connect with their closed-ones.

The number of young users will likely continue to decrease this year, with an estimated drop of 5.57%. Snapchat, owned by Snap (SNAP), may now be siphoning away more users than expected. This compared to 24 percent for Instagram, 9 percent for Facebook and 7 percent for Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR).

However, where as in the past Facebook-owned Instagram has been successful in attracting many of those younger social media users, that's not expected to be the case in 2018. Facebook lost approximately 2.8 million USA users under 25 past year, a small amount in comparison to the company's vast user base but indicative of a general decline in interest for the platform amongst younger Americans. Meanwhile, Instagram will add 1.6 million users and Snapchat will add 1.9 million users in this age group. It's a worrying development for the social media giant.

In December 2017, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook would be redesigning its News Feed algorithm to bring users less news and promotional content, and more posts from friends and family. When the lost users get older, will they be bothered about Facebook? To target young users specifically, Facebook released Messenger Kids in December.

"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.

Facebook, one of the pioneers in the social media industry and one of the main platforms, is now having a "teen problem".

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