A joint study out today on Teens, Social Media, and Privacy by the Pew Research Center and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society confirms what anecdotal evidence has suggested for some time now: that Facebook is falling out of favor with teenagers.
While the study, which surveyed 156 teens ages 11-19, covers a wide range of issues surrounding privacy and teen internet use, the clearest narrative thread in the focus groups is one that's troubling for the world's largest social network. According to the study:
In focus groups, many teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook. They dislike the increasing number of adults on the site, get annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details, and are drained by the "drama" that they described as happening frequently on the site. The stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook also contributes to the lack of enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the site is still where a large amount of socializing takes place, and teens feel they need to stay on Facebook in order to not miss out.
Users of sites other than Facebook express greater enthusiasm for their choice.
Those teens who used sites like Twitter and Instagram reported feeling like they could better express themselves on these platforms, where they felt freed from the social expectations and constraints of Facebook. Some teens may migrate their activity and attention to other sites to escape the drama and pressures they find on Facebook, although most still remain active on Facebook as well.
Most telling, though, are the quotes from the teens themselves, which indicate not only fatigue, but the very real concern that the Facebook has simply become another exhausting extension of teens' everyday lives.
For many, Facebook's unlimited ability to post pictures, videos, text, and chat led to too much "drama."
Others cited concerns that the network so closely mirrored their offline world that they no longer felt "free" on the site.
A few teens just seemed to prefer Instagram's features over Facebook's, calling it "less social."
"Friends convinced me to make a Twitter. Because everyone's saying Facebook's dead."
Some of the teens noted they're using Snapchat as a replacement for texting.
Charlie Warzel is a Senior Technology Writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in Missoula, Montana
Contact Charlie Warzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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