You’ve probably had a few friends that would describe themselves as “Facebook addicts.” Maybe you are a “Facebook addict” yourself. But looking back at trends from 2015, it appears that the social media platform has actually been declining in actively participating users, and is feeling the pressure from other rapidly growing social apps.
According to the Global Web Index, active usage of Facebook dropped -9% in North America, -7% in South America, Europe and the Middle East and Africa, and -12% in Asia. This means that instead of liking and commenting or posting photos and status, people were more likely to passively scroll through Facebook, if at all.
This could potentially be attributed to rise of other social media apps on the scene: you can post photos to Instagram, chat on Kik or WhatsApp, and see funny posts on Tumblr. Facebook also seems to be losing some of its “cool” factor. In a Mashable post, thirteen year Ruby Karp explained: “Facebook has been trying too hard. Teens hate it when people try too hard; it pushes them away. Teens just like to join on their own. If you’re up in their faces about the new features on Facebook they’ll get annoyed and find a new social media.”
She also mentions that since her parents and older people are on the site, teens don’t want to post photographs or say things that may get them in trouble. Teens feeling restricted by social pressure on what they can and cannot post is a problem for Facebook, because these teens are quickly moving to other, newer platforms like Snapchat and Instagram in order to fully express themselves.
As Facebook seems to loose footing on its edge, other apps are swooping in to claim every bit of user traffic. Pinterest and Tumblr both saw huge growth in active users. Whether the decline in active users on Facebook will eventually result in a larger exodus will be seen with time, but it is likely that Facebook may succumb to the boom-bust cycle that seems to dominate the industry, as users begin to branch out and spend more time on other apps.
Forbes writer Gene Marks aptly points out that Facebook is neither an operating system, nor a platform, nor infrastructure.
“In the end,” he writes, “Facebook is just an application. And people get tired of applications after a while.”
If you still consider yourself a “Facebook addict,” let’s hope that the brains behind Facebook can find a way to stay afloat and entice users (especially younger ones) to continue engagement. Otherwise, we’ll see you on the next latest, trendiest social media app!