Facebook confirmed in its annual 10-K report that teenagers are utilizing their website less, presenting a danger to the future of the company.
We believe that some of our users, particularly our younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook. For example, we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram. In the event that our users increasingly engage with other products and services, we may experience a decline in user engagement and our business could be harmed.
Snapchat, Instagram, and Tumblr are drawing customers away from Facebook. Some of its typical clientele are wary of being part of a system where their images exist permanently and they are tagged in other users' pictures.
Josh Miller, the founder of Branch, another social networking site, asked his teenage sister about Facebook. She responded that she tried to visit Facebook as infrequently as possible because it’s addictive and because it wasn’t as fun as Instagram.
Facebook's Director of Product Blake Ross, who is leaving the company, wrote on his Facebook page, “I’m leaving because a Forbes writer asked his son’s best friend Todd if Facebook was still cool and the friend said no, and plus none of HIS friends think so either even Leila who used to love it, and this journalism made me reconsider the long-term viability of the company.”
Ross suggested the concerns about the company's future were meant as a joke, but he soon yanked the post from his page.
Laura Portwood-Stacer, a web expert, said, “I think it has less to do with kids consciously looking for 'the next big thing' than Facebook just no longer being a space that serves them. I think kids are less self-conscious about trying to be cool than marketers would like to think.”
Facebook isn’t too worried—it owns Instagram.