Business Technology

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Elderly are now Facebook's biggest users as teens flock to Instagram

Stock Image: PA
Stock Image: PA
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Grannies have replaced teens on Facebook in Ireland, new figures show.

Facebook's advertising numbers show that more pensioners than children now use the social media service here, with younger people flocking to Instagram instead.

Some 170,000 Irish people over the age of 65 use Facebook, compared to 150,000 people who are aged between 13 and 18. Some 1.2 million of Facebook's Irish users are over 40, compared to one million users aged between 13 and 30.

The figures, unearthed by Cork-based firm Mulley Communications, appear to confirm the suspicion that Facebook is mainly a place for the middle-aged and elderly.

"Younger people are moving out and their grannies are moving in," said Damien Mulley, who worked on the report. "It's still good news for Facebook, though, as the younger generation is moving to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. There are more people under 25 on Instagram than on Facebook."

The Irish figures reflect a global switch from young to old on Facebook.

In the US, recent research shows that just 36pc of teens use Facebook at least once a month, down from 52pc two years ago.

The social media giant has faced non-stop problems in 2017 and 2018 with privacy scandals and ad-related controversies.

It has also become a centre for sharing links to heated, polarised stories over politics and current affairs.

But it is the increasing prominence of parents, grandparents and bosses on the platform that may be scaring off younger users.

However, Mark Zuckerberg's business has been cushioned by its ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the most-used services in the world.

Instagram's successful imitation of Snapchat's key features has stopped the newer social network's progress, with young people no longer gravitating to the disappearing messages of Snapchat as their main service.

"Snapchat's last numbers for Ireland stood at 1.7 million whereas the stories feature on Instagram now has 1.5 million users out of the 1.8 million monthly Instagram users in Ireland," said Mr Mulley.

"Snapchat can blame themselves for this. They redesigned their app and alienated millions of people."

Irish Independent

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