Image: Snapchat Image: Snapchat

According to a new report, younger people are turning away from Facebook, while older people are using it more than ever.

From Mark Zuckerberg’s point of view, it may not matter too much. Younger people are turning to Instagram, owned by Facebook, while older people are using Facebook – owned by err, Facebook – according to a report from EMarketer.

More worryingly, from Zuckerberg’s point of view, children are turning to Snapchat, which was not interested in selling out to Facebook, when Mr Zuckerberg made his $30 billion offer for the company a couple of years ago.

Then again, don’t forget, Facebook was originally made popular with students, the kids preferred MySpace, and much to the dismay of Rupert Murdoch who tried to embrace the social media scene by buying MySpace, Facebook won that battle rather convincingly.

Maybe part of the problem with Facebook is that it is used by parents, making it decidedly uncool – while, too many of the views expressed on the social media site are, frankly, full of intolerance and bigotry. What is it about people, they can be apparently pleasant, ‘live and let live’ types, who are politeness itself if you meet them on the street, but turn into such spiteful social scribblers, scratching the social media scene with their venom, turning their most unpleasant thoughts and barely spoken fears, into words for all the world to see?

Be that as it may, in the UK, half a million people who are 55 plus are expected to join Facebook this year, but the number of people between 12 and 17 using Facebook is expected to decrease by 300,000, and 400,000 18-24 year olds are expected to turn away.

The over 55s are set to become the second biggest demographic on Facebook.

Bill Fisher, UK senior analyst at EMarketer said: "Facebook has a teen problem. This latest forecast indicates that it is more than just a theory. Until now it has been able to rely on platform shifters being hoovered up by Instagram. However, leading the charge for younger audiences is Snapchat. There are now some early signs that younger social network users are being swayed by Snapchat.”

Drilling down

Facebook users, 2018 versus 2017, source EMarketer
AgeNumber of users in millionsChange on 2017
12-172.2Negative 300,000
18-244.5Negative 400,000
25-347.2Zero change
35-445.9Zero change
45-545.6Positive 100,000
55-643.5Positive 200,000
56+2.9Positive 300,000