In Brief

Facebook facing UK youth exodus

Social media giant now favoured by over-55s as teenagers defect to newer platforms

Facebook is facing a UK youth exodus, just as it becomes a favoured destination for over-55s.

According to eMarketer, teens and young adults are defecting to newer platforms such as Snapchat, just as older users are flocking to sign up. It’s a worrying development for the social media giant.

Some 700,000 young UK users are forecast to leave, while over-55s will become the second-biggest demographic of Facebook users this year.

“There are a couple of factors at play here,” Richard Broughton, an analyst at Ampere told The Guardian. “One is that older people tend to be late to the internet party, but adoption tends to find its way through the demographics eventually. And with Facebook’s video and photo experience it is a platform they want to be on to keep up with the social lives of their kids and grandchildren.”

Bill Fisher, UK senior analyst at eMarketer agrees that “Facebook has a teen problem [and] this latest forecast indicates that it is more than just a theory”.

The report will make uneasy reading for Facebook, coming as it tries to address concerns it was manipulated by Russia in the run-up to the 2016 US elections and looks to improve the experience of spending time on the platform following a change to its news feed.

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg described last year as a “hard one” - but although the company remains the world’s most popular social network, with more than two billion users worldwide, it may need to reinvent itself to appeal to a new generation of digital natives.

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