What is Facebook’s relationship status with young people?

Should the world’s largest social network be worried that it’s losing young people amid reports of Facebook fatigue and boredom? Among the bigwigs who spoke at the All Things Digital conference Wednesday was Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Her quotable moment: “Teenagers are using other things more. At the same time, they continue to be very active, engaged Facebook users.” Those other things? Twitter and Tumblr.

But “I don’t see teenagers leaving in droves,” Microsoft researcher danah boyd (no capitalization, really) told the Associated Press recently. “I just don’t see it being their site of passion.”

In any case, shares of the Menlo Park company are up about 6 percent to $24.75 as of this post after a couple of analyst upgrades, although they are still down more than 30 percent since the Facebook IPO a year ago. What are the analysts excited about? Video ads, according to the Wall Street Journal’s MoneyBeat blog. Jefferies analyst Brian Pitz reportedly sees it as Facebook’s “next billion-dollar business.” BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon, who’s also optimistic about the video ads, also said the hand-wringing over young people and Facebook is mostly anecdotal and ignores another place popular with teens: Instagram, which Facebook bought for $1 billion.


Photo by Reuters


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  • EastBayAndrew

    My Nephew wanted to be on Facebook because he wants to play a particular “Dragon” game, but he’s underage – Facebook members must be 13 – and his parents correctly said “No.”

    I went looking for a social network for the pre-teens and its called gromsocial. This site appears to have all the controls that parents would want and is completely aimed at the pre-teens. Members must be parent/child teams to join and must get accepted by an existing member parent. If you are above 16, you have to have permission of a gromsocial member parent to join the site. They have over 7000 members already.

    Well, turns out my nephew isn’t really interested in the social networking anyway. He just really wants to play one particular “dragon” game that is only available on Facebook. He’ll have to wait a few years.

    Facebook may want to look at what Gromsocial is doing. Its a totally different client because these kids need the protections that the parents are demanding.
    Facebook has the muscle to get something like this done, but it would have a totally different level of protection and content maintenance required vs. the Facebook product (a totally different culture too). Facebook-4-Kids could be a winner, but it would have to be different.

    My nephew thinks it would be cool if he could play the Facebook games and a gromsocial equivalent of Facebook with all the games would satisfy him.