There has been plenty of back and forth over the past year or so regarding whether or not teens and other young users are abandoning Facebook in favor of rival services. The theory is that parents and other family members use Facebook too often to keep tabs on their children, so children are moving away from Facebook to services like Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks that offer more privacy. It makes sense, of course — no one wants their grandparents to see a scantily clad bathroom selfie.
Facebook CFO David Ebersman confirmed that the issue is real during a recent earnings call, though he didn’t give any indication as to how serious the problem might be. “We did see a decrease in [teenage] daily users, especially younger teens,” Ebersman said.
Why is this such a big deal for Facebook? If teens abandon the service en masse, that’s an entire generation of people who will grow up using various rivals instead of Facebook.
According to research conducted recently by iStrategy and picked up by Time, the problem is indeed a fairly big deal. The firm’s data suggests that Facebook is now home to more than 11 million fewer young users than it was two years ago in the U.S. alone, including 4,292,080 fewer high school-aged users and 6,948,848 college-aged users. Those figures represent a 58.9% drop-off in high school-aged users and a 59.1% decrease in college-aged users.
A chart showing iStrategy’s data follows below.