Meta's Facebook says it is attracting most young adults in 3 years

By Reuters   May 31, 2024 | 04:21 pm PT
Meta said on Friday its flagship app Facebook is attracting its highest number of young adults in three years, as it tries to shake the platform's reputation as the bastion of an older generation.
Facebook logo on a smartphone screen. Photo by AFP

Facebook logo on a smartphone screen. Photo by AFP

More than 40 million U.S. and Canadian adults aged 18 to 29 now check Facebook daily, the social media company said, in its first-ever release of such demographic information. Facebook, whose founder Mark Zuckerberg turned 40 last month, marked its 20th anniversary this year.

The growth reflects the company's efforts in the last few years to recapture the attention of young adults who have been flocking to short video app TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance.

Meta charted "five quarters of healthy app usage growth" among young adults, a company spokesperson said.

At an event in New York aimed at highlighting how young people use the app, Meta's head of Facebook Tom Alison said the anniversary prompted executives to realize Facebook needed to evolve to stay relevant for the next generation.

"Who is Facebook for? Is it for my parents?" Alison said, citing questions he said he had heard from young adults.

Alison told Reuters in an interview that young users appeared to be coming to Facebook initially to use sections like Marketplace, Groups and Dating at key moments in their lives, such as when they needed to furnish apartments for the first time.

While most of those sections do not feature ads, their usage was driving engagement broadly, he added.

"Once they're on Facebook, they go and they check out stuff that's going on in Feed or from Reels," he said, referring to Meta's TikTok-like short video product.

Facebook, founded in a Harvard University dorm in 2004, spread like wildfire across U.S. college campuses after it launched and quickly became the default mass communications platform for a generation of internet users. The app amassed 50 million users within its first three years and now has 3.2 billion users globally.

Along the way, however, it became less attractive to the young users who drive consumer fads and are considered crucial by the advertisers responsible for most of Meta's ad sales.

Only about a third of U.S. teens say they use Facebook, according to a survey last year by research organization Pew, a sharp drop compared to previous surveys the group conducted in 2014 and 2015.

By comparison, the share of all U.S. adults who say they use Facebook has remained relatively flat since 2016 at around 68%, Pew has said.

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