Facebook Use Changing Among Young Users

Sep 6, 2018
Originally published on September 6, 2018 2:58 pm
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Facebook has a problem with younger users. This is not entirely new. The common story goes that young people drifted away from Facebook as soon as they found out their grandparents were on it. But a survey by the Pew Research Center offers some details about young people, Facebook and privacy. NPR's Jasmine Garsd reports.

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: There's this constant handwringing about kids on social media these days. But American teens might just be generation privacy. Aaron Smith is an associate director at the Pew Research Center.

AARON SMITH: Despite the common perception that young adults are not privacy conscious at all, they are actually very active in managing their online presences in a pretty substantial way.

GARSD: In a new survey, Pew found that nearly two-thirds of young users have adjusted their privacy settings in the last year. Users over 65 - only a third have done that. The survey also found that nearly half of young users between the ages of 18 and 29 have even deleted the Facebook app from their phone. But how much of that deleting is due to privacy concerns or just the fact that Facebook might not be cool enough for them?

DEBRA AHO WILLIAMSON: They think Facebook is for old people.

GARSD: Debra Aho Williamson is a principal analyst at research firm eMarketer. She says the jury is still out over whether this will affect Facebook's bottom line. After all, Facebook owns Instagram. And the younger generations...

WILLIAMSON: They would prefer to use a more visual type of communication like Instagram or Snapchat.

GARSD: Sure, Snapchat, Instagram, they're prettier and more colorful. And they can also be more private than Facebook.

ALISA TRUZALINO: You know, you can send something to someone and it goes away after like a few minutes, so...

GARSD: Alisa Truzalino (ph) is 19 years old. Lately, she doesn't use Facebook much at all. But it's not because she's worried about Russian or Iranian interference campaigns, data mining or fake news. She just doesn't feel comfortable.

TRUZALINO: You know, like, anyone can look you up on social media and see what you're doing. And then like, you can lose out on job opportunities. People won't take you seriously and stuff like that, so...

GARSD: Kids today, they might be onto something. A snap and an Instagram story lasts a little bit. That Facebook album featuring your weekend in Vegas back in 2016? It's there forever. Jasmine Garsd, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.