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Why Are Millions Of Teens Fleeing Facebook?

A new report shows young people fleeing the world’s biggest social network.

Why Are Millions Of Teens Fleeing Facebook?
[Image: Flickr user Dan Paluska]

Your mom, your mom’s mom, and your mom’s new puppy have a Facebook profile these days. It’s no wonder the site is seeing a rapid decline in traffic from teens, who are increasingly turning their attention to newer social networks.

Digital consultancy iStrategy Labs released a study on Wednesday showing that young people are leaving Facebook. The firm reviewed data from Facebook’s Social Advertising platform in 2011, comparing it with data from January 2014.

The report shows that as of January of this year, there are 3,314,780 fewer Facebook users between the ages of 13-17 than in 2011. Additionally, in the age range of 18-24, over 3.4 million users have left the platform. And if you look at the numbers per “current enrollment,” the decline of high school and college students on Facebook is 11,240,920 combined. That’s a big drop in just three years.

“It seems like [young people] don’t use Facebook anymore,” President Barack Obama was overheard saying on Tuesday. Atlantic contributor Robinson Meyer, echoed the President’s sentiment, writing that “Facebook is so uncool even the president of the United States knows it.”

The younger generation has a habit of shaping global trends, so the news could have a dramatic affect for Facebook’s overall strategy. Then again, mirroring the downshift in youth text messaging and the increase of senior citizen texting, Facebook is seeing a surge in users from the 55+ age range–there has been “+80.4% growth in the last 3 years.”

The rise of Twitter and Instagram among teenage users can be attributed to the shift away from Facebook. A Piper Jaffray report found that in 2013, only 23% of teens thought that Facebook was important, down from the 42% in 2012. The Pew Research Center 2013 study observed that 94% of teens have a Facebook profile, but Twitter usage has exponentially increased in that age group. It is important to note that the Pew study concluded that, “these youth are mindful about what they post, even if their primary focus and motivation is often their engagement with an audience of peers and family,” thereby affirming the notion that adolescents are eager to leave Facebook behind–where your mom and grandma frequently post and peruse.