Teenagers and “young adults” flee from Facebook: the secret report

Facebook is no longer a place for young people: it's not a saying, but the result of an internal report of March 2021

It's not a good period for Facebook, in full identity crisis: born in 2004 as "the place to be" for young people, now it manages to keep almost only those who were young in 2004. Perhaps this is the reason why Mark Zuckerberg is thinking of changing the name of the holding company and, who knows, maybe even the social blue. The data on the average age of users and their involvement, however, do not draw a blue sky on the horizon.

Data collected by Facebook itself, which last March put to work an internal team of researchers to take stock of the health of the main social group. The researchers have drawn up a report, for the exclusive use of executives and not communicated to the outside world. But now it has become public thanks to the famous "mole" Frances Haugen, who has delivered it (along with much other material) to the U.S. SEC. Bloomberg got hold of the report and published the most important data. What did that report say? That Facebook is losing popularity among teens and young adults, i.e. users between 18 and 29 years old. The slight growth recorded among users over 30, however, is not enough to balance the scales. But the most interesting thing is the age at which people open a Facebook profile today: not less than 24-25 years.

Facebook user report: the data

The data collected in March 2021 by Facebook researchers photograph 3 main factors: the average age of users, the time spent each day and the messages sent each day. All compared to the same data in 2020. Reading them, this data reveals that only 9.1% of Facebook users are in the age group of 13 to 17, while 12.6% are between 18 and 29.

The difference in time spent on Facebook across age groups is huge: teens spend 25.9 minutes a day on Facebook (compared to 30.8 minutes last year), "young adults" 44.5 minutes (compared to 46.8 minutes) and the over 30s a whopping 58.2 minutes (up from 57.1 minutes last year).

With regard to the messages sent every day by active users, on the other hand, there is a slight growth among the over 30s (7.9 vs. 7.3), substantial stability among young adults (13 vs. 13.1) and a drop among teenagers (14.5 vs. 17.3). In short: looking at all the metrics that count, one gets the impression that the very young are running away from Facebook.

But that's not all, there's even worse: the report highlights many duplicate profiles created by teens to have a dual identity on Facebook and this, in practice, means that there are even fewer real young users than the official data says.

Facebook doesn't know how to please "young adults"

The March 2021 report was part of a larger initiative that also included a survey of Facebook employees. Among the questions administered in the survey was this one, "What should we optimize for young adults?" The most frequent response was, "I don't know."

The report then highlighted a problem not only with teens, but also with young adults, which Facebook is reportedly trying to solve without succeeding: "There's a problem with young adults' shares: they're using other apps to share their daily moments."

The TikTok Threat

Finally, the report clearly shows how Facebook is fully aware of the danger it runs because of TikTok, an app that has been experiencing extraordinary growth for months even in America.

The March 2021 report shows that TikTok users spend twice as much time on the app as Facebook users, and that teenagers spend twice or even three times as much time on TikTok as they do on Instagram Reels.

In summary: Facebook is under attack and is losing young and very young users both because it no longer offers them an interesting service and because the competition, in this case the Chinese of TikTok, are much more attractive. Even Instagram, once the spearhead of the Facebook group.