Social media giant Facebook has lost about 15 million users in the U.S. since 2017, with the largest exodus being noticed in the 12- to 34-year-old age demographic, according to the latest report released by New Jersey-based Edison Research. However, the rest of the world is not following suit.
The report shows that the number of Americans aged over 12 who are using Facebook has dropped to 61 percent in 2019 from 67 percent two years ago. Among these, the largest demographic of people leaving the platform comes from the 12- to 35-year-old age bracket. Users in this crucial age group have dropped considerably from 79 percent in 2017 to 62 percent in 2019. The only positive sign in the U.S. has been increased sign-ups from people aged over 55 – a rise from 49 percent to 53 percent over the last year.
Is Facebook declining?
While the numbers released by the Edison Reseach report appear troubling, it doesn't seem to show the whole picture. Despite a year of ups and downs due to privacy and safety troubles, Facebook reported higher-than-expected revenue as well as a spike in global users in its fourth-quarter earnings report for 2018.
The social media company reported 1.52 billion daily active users on average and 2.32 billion monthly active users on average as of December 2018, both of which represent a record 9 percent year-on-year increase globally. This shows that although the company is losing steam in the U.S., it is still quite healthy and is gaining ground around the world. Its revenue of $16.91 billion corresponds to record growth of 30.4 percent year-on-year.
It is also important to note that Facebook, in its Q4 earnings report, also announced a rise in the number of users in U.S. and Europe in the last three months of 2018, compared to the third quarter of last year. This means that although users seem to have left Facebook in large numbers of the last two years, there is a trend building of people signing up into the platform.
Also, the latest data released by Edison Research doesn't take into account people spending more time on other Facebook-owned applications such as Whatsapp and Instagram. As of January 2019, Whatsapp had 1.5 billion monthly active users, with Facebook Messenger accounting for another 1.3 billion monthly active users, according to the latest data released by Statista.