UK & World News

  • 29 December 2013, 1:55

Facebook 'Dead And Buried' As Teens Turn Away

Facebook is "basically dead and buried" with many UK teenagers feeling embarrassed even to be associated with it, new research says.

Young people are apparently turning away from it "in their droves" and are using "cooler" websites and apps such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

Professor Daniel Miller, from University College London which helped carry out the research, said: "Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives.

"Parents have worked out how to use the site and see it as a way for the family to remain connected. In response, the young are moving on to cooler things."

He added: "What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person's decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request.

"You just can't be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion.

"The desire for the new, also drives each new generation to find their own media and this is playing out now in social media.

"It is nothing new that young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore."

The EU-funded research, which questioned 16-18 year olds in the UK, suggested the newer sites and apps were not as good as Facebook in terms of functionality.

Facebook is more integrated, better for photo albums, organising parties and more effective for observing people's relationships, said the survey.

But WhatsApp is better for messaging and is now said to have overtaken Facebook as the number one way to send mobile messages, it added.

A lot of teenagers have also turned to Snapchat, a picture-sharing service that allows you to send pictures that disappear seconds after they have been viewed.

With Facebook, there have been concerns about privacy as it was revealed this year that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was accessing data from the site.

But the migration away does not appear to be down to young people making a statement about mass surveillance or big corporations.

One of the most popular alternatives is Instagram, which allows you to upload and share photos, and which is owned by Facebook.

Mike Butcher, from Techcrunch.com, told Sky News: "Facebook used to be quite a private place, especially among university students.

"And gradually because Facebook needs to make money it had to open up and become more public.

"So that's what happening and they (young people) are going towards new kinds of platforms like Instagram or Twitter."

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