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Do Teenagers Still Use Facebook? A Q&A With Ryan Cohn

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Sachs Media Group

18 June

The following was originally published by Metro on June 5, 2018.

Today, the three platforms most used by teenagers are YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, according to recent data from the Pew Research Center, which leaves Facebook, the largest social network in the world with more than two billion active users each month, out of the game.

The panorama of social networks used by adolescents is different from that of three years ago. In the 2014-2015 survey of the Center for the use of social networks, 71% of adolescents reported being Facebook users. No other platform was used by a clear majority of adolescents at that time.

Metro spoke with Ryan Cohn, executive vice president of Sachs Media Group, who responded that the decline of Facebook is due more to the way teens communicate now.

Facebook is going through major crises. Could it be the end of the largest social network in the world?

Despite its major crises, Facebook continues to grow. The bad press has not been enough to force users to leave the social network. Why? Because most users are in a loveless marriage with Facebook. We may not like it anymore, but our stuff is there. Our friends are there. It’s the only reality we’ve known for a decade.

For longtime Facebook users, leaving isn’t worth the trouble, so we pout and complain – and stick around. That won’t change any time soon.

Is the exodus of teenagers from Facebook a worldwide phenomenon or is it only happening in the United States?

Teens aren’t leaving Facebook due to the negative press. Their Facebook exodus is a worldwide trend indicative of changes in how teens communicate with each other. Rather than interact within a single social media app (Facebook), today’s digitally savvy teenagers prefer to seamlessly switch between apps that each specialize in one facet of communication.

When you message on Snapchat or WhatsApp, watch videos on YouTube, and share photos on Instagram, what else is left to get through Facebook?

What would be your recommendations to Facebook in order to attract young people?

While Facebook’s namesake social network may be on a downward spiral with teenagers, the overall company is well-positioned with them for continued growth. Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp put the company front and center in the digital lives of today’s teens, and if/when virtual reality becomes mainstream, Oculus could open exciting opportunities for the future.

Do scandals like Cambridge Analytica have any weight in this fall?

In the aftermath of major crises, Facebook made several system-wide changes, adding safeguards to protect personal privacy and extra layers of transparency to political advertising. While rogue actors may still get through, we will likely see fewer unscrupulous and manipulative political ads during the upcoming election season. This bodes well for election integrity worldwide.

What is the trend of change in the use of social networks toward the future? What functions do developers of new applications have to aim for?

We are living life today at a light speed pace. From content overload to the nonstop news cycle, people are craving a new generation of applications that make life easier to navigate – on their terms, turf, and timeline.

For instance, peer-to-peer messaging apps, like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and even iMessage, are starting to offer helpful mini apps and add-ons that augment our conversations using artificial intelligence. Planning date night? You’ll be able to buy theatre tickets, make restaurant reservations, and request a Lyft – all within a single conversation.