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New study shows teens are leaving Facebook in droves

Teens are making YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat their social media platform of choice

To put it mildly, 2018 has been a rough year for Facebook, and it looks like the once-mighty social media platform isn't out of the woods just yet. A new study from the Pew Research Center published on 31 May shows that, increasingly, teens primarily aged 13-17 are choosing platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat over Facebook. 

Focused on the social media habits of teens in the U.S., the study shows there has been a significant drop in just a few years. A similar study from 2014-2015 showed that 71% of teens were Facebook users; in the 2018 study, that number has dropped to around 51%. The study fails to give specific reasons as to why teens are rapidly moving away from Facebook, but these numbers seem to chart an uncertain course for Facebook as they attempt to find favor with the public going forward. In contrast, 35% of teens cited Snapchat as their preferred social media platform, while 32% favored YouTube, 15% chose Instagram and only 10% stated Facebook as their top choice. 

Interestingly, when the Pew study broke down the teens by income bracket, they found that 70% of lower-income teens (teens living in households with a yearly income of around £22,000) were among the largest group of regular Facebook users, with those numbers tapering off significantly in relation to households with higher incomes. For example, 56% of teens living in a home where the yearly income ranged £22-56,000 year counted themselves as primarily Facebook users, with that number dropping to 36% of teens living in homes where the average income was £56,000 or more a year.

The numbers break down in even more intriguing ways when the study compares teen social media use based on gender (we should note that gender is only broken down in binary terms here and doesn't account for LGBTQ teens) and race. Girls were more likely to choose Snapchat as their preferred social media platform while boys frequently gravitated toward YouTube. Additionally, black teens were going to Facebook more while white teens were going for Snapchat. 

Finally, the study included some comments from teens who were interviewed for the study and most felt that social media had a positive effect in their lives. As one female interviewee, age 15, remarked, "I feel that social media can make people my age feel less lonely or alone. It creates a space where you can interact with people."