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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Facebook users decline as younger generation chooses newer platforms

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A smartphone screen displays the logo of Facebook [YONHAP]
A smartphone screen displays the logo of Facebook [YONHAP]

Facebook’s user exodus continues as the younger generation moves away from the world’s largest social media to newer alternatives. 

The number of Korean monthly active users on Facebook decreased by 25 percent compared to two years ago, according to an analysis by data management platform IGAWorks, released Friday.

According to the latest figures, Facebook had a total of 11,096,919 monthly active users on Google Play Store and Apple App Store as of last month.

That is a 25.4 percent decrease compared to May 2020 when the local market tracker started tallying the two app markets together, and a 17 percent decrease compared to July last year.

Stagnant or declining numbers of Facebook users are a global phenomenon. Statista, a market, and consumer data company, counted the average worldwide monthly active users of Facebook during the second quarter of this year to be 2.93 billion.

Although the number inched up by 1.3 percent compared to last year’s second quarter, it had lost 2 million users compared to the previous quarter. 

The main reason behind the departure is the MZ generation, or those born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s, leaving Facebook for younger platforms.

Only 27 percent of millennials — or those between ages 25 to 38 — used Facebook last year, a steep fall from 48.6 percent in 2017, according to a report on social media users by generation released by the Korea Information Society Development Institute in June. 

“The majority of Facebook users now are those in their 40s and 50s,” said an industry insider. “Teenagers who previously used Facebook Messenger are looking for alternatives like TikTok. Personal information leakage controversies surrounding Facebook are also a cause for declining numbers of users.”

Previously, Meta, the operator of Facebook and Instagram, announced to Korean users that it would freeze the accounts of users who did not agree to the company’s updated privacy policy but withdrew the suspension plan on June 28 after backlash from local users.

Regarding the declining number of users, Meta maintained that Facebook’s position in the domestic social media market is strong, explaining that the company is adapting to user needs and changing its services.

BY BAE JAE-SUNG [lim.jeongwon@joongang.co.kr]