Facebook began as a hip, new social media platform geared specifically toward students on college campuses.
Once it made its way onto the mainstream, it was still very popular with younger crowds. Over time, though, it started to trend in an elderly direction, with many youth migrating over to other social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram – which is owned by Facebook’s parent company, Meta.
Yet, despite all of this, Facebook is saying it’s not dead, nor is it just for “old people.”
In fact, the company seems to be angling to bring back youthful users in the wake of TikTok facing heightened security measures from both the federal government and multiple state governments as the tensions between China and the U.S. grow.
A recent report from The Associated Press looked at just this situation, polling younger social media users to get their thoughts on it all. They spoke with a 24-year-old, Devin Walsh, who lives in Manhattan and has a job in the field of public relations.
She said of Facebook:
“I don’t even remember the last time I logged in. It must have been years ago.”
By contrast, Walsh says she checks Instagram multiple times per day, and is on TikTok for roughly one hour a day, just scrolling through and letting the site’s algorithm display her things “I didn’t even know I was interested in.”
Walsh first joined Facebook when she was just in the sixth grade. Now, she finds it very hard to imagine a situation in which she would go back to the site on a regular basis.
“It’s the branding, right? When I think of Facebook, I think of ugh, like cheugy, older people, like parents posting pictures of their kids, random status updates and also people fighting about political issues.”
Even though Facebook isn’t the cool place for younger people to hang out online anymore, it still is Meta’s main revenue source. That could be a major issue for the company moving forward if it isn’t able to shift part or all of that problem – either resurrecting Facebook or finding a new major source of revenue.
Despite young people not being in love with Facebook anymore, some analysts don’t see it as a major problem for Meta as of yet.
Insider Intelligence analyst Debra Aho Williamson, who has followed Facebook for years, believes that Facebook isn’t going to be disappearing in the near future. She said:
“The fact that we are talking about Facebook being 20 years old, I think that is a testament of what Mark (Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg) developed when he was in college. It’s pretty incredible. It is still a very powerful platform around the world.”
And Tom Alison, who is the head of Facebook – a position he took over when Zuckerberg became CEO of Meta – believes the company has a solid plan to lure young adults back to Facebook.
“We used to have a team at Facebook that was focused on younger cohorts, or maybe there was a project or two that was dedicated to coming up with new ideas. And about two years ago, we said no – our entire product line needs to change and evolve and adapt to the needs of the young adults.”