Sunday 25 February 2018

People are getting bored of Facebook and Instagram, study says

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Madhumita Murgia

Publicity-shy internet users are abandoning Facebook and Instagram for more private apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram, according to new research.

The study, which analysed time spent on four social networking apps  including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, found that Instagram showed the biggest drop in global usage, down 23.7pc year-on-year.

Twitter usage was next, down 23.4pc, Snapchat 15.7pc and Facebook by 8pc.

Twitter was the least popular of all the apps, while Facebook was most used, with people spending an average of 34 minutes in its app daily. Its closest rival was its own app, Instagram at 17 minutes of daily use. 

In the UK, Instagram saw the biggest drop in use over the last year, while Snapchat was unusually popular: Britons are the third-most prolific Snapchatters, spending an average of 15 minutes on the ephemeral chat app every day.

Researchers at web analytics company SimilarWeb tracked activity on hundreds of thousands of Android phones from January to March 2016 and compared it with the same period in 2015. Anonymous users from nine countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, India and Brazil were studied. 

The reason for this drop in social media use could be two-fold, according to data analyst Pavel Tuchinsky, who authored the report.

Firstly, there are a slew of smaller, more niche social media apps such as livestreaming video app Periscope and encrypted messenger Telegram that are competing for users' attention. Use of Telegram in the UK went up from 17 minutes last year to a current time of 24 minutes - more than 40pc growth.

"We see a trend towards privacy, and towards more individual communications," Tuchinsky said. "Let’s take the growth of Telegram as an example. Also Whisper and Yik Yak where people can chat anonymously. It seems people are moving to more closed communities."

There has also been a huge surge in popularity of messaging apps like WhatsApp, which have begun to replace public social networks. Together, the five biggest messaging apps - Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, WeChat and Line - account for more than 3 billion accounts globally, with WhatsApp alone accounting for more than 1 billion users. 

Whatsapp use in the UK is 27.5 minutes per session, second only to its parent app Facebook in popularity, and is installed on 54pc of all Android phones. 

Overall, there was also a 9pc drop in the number of the big four social media apps installed on Android phones worldwide.

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