With all the discussion around how social platforms can be used to fuel divisions within society by facilitating the spread of fake news, and reinforcing filter bubbles due to algorithms showing users more of what they agree with, the latest Pew Research study on social media news consumption comes at an important time, and underlines, yet again, why this is a significant area of concern.
According to Pew’s latest data, which incorporates responses from more than 4,500 Americans, 68% of American adults say that they now get at least some news coverage from social media, making it an influential source of updates on the latest issues and affairs.
Facebook is giving its immersive Canvas ad option an update, with a new name, some new back-end tweaks to improve load time and performance, and new creative template options to make them easier than ever to implement.
Canvas ads, which Facebook rolled out to all advertisers back in 2016, essentially offer a mini-website experience within Facebook itself, with the ads taking up the whole screen when clicked.
The number of Facebook users in the US will inch up 0.9% this year to 169.5 million. While growth has plateaued, Facebook is still the most used social network among all age groups, except for teens.
Here’s how the top social networks rank among the following age groups:
In 2016, Snapchat surpassed Facebook as the most popular social network among US teens. Snapchat will continue to add users ages 12 to 17, while Facebook will continue to lose users in that cohort. In fact, we estimate Snapchat will add 1.2 million new users in that age group by 2022, while Facebook will lose 2.2 million.
Snapchat has been more popular than Instagram among US teens for years. In 2018, 16.4 million 12- to 17-year-olds will use Snapchat, compared with 12.8 million for Instagram. Snapchat will remain dominant among teen users through 2022.
As eMarketer first reported in February, teen usage of Facebook is declining. This year, 11.5 million people in the US ages 12 to 17 will be on the platform, down from 12.1 million in 2017. By 2022, the number of Facebook users in that age bracket will drop to 9.3 million.
Facebook, during all its years of expansion, has been focused on one thing above all else: getting people to spend more time on its social network.
Now, as tech giants face increasing criticism over the addictive nature of their products, the company is releasing features that do the opposite. Facebook and Instagram, its photo-sharing app, will add controls to help people measure how much time they’re spending on the sites, so they can dial it back if they want to. Users can also mute notifications on the apps for a certain period of time, or sign up to get an alert when they’ve been scrolling for too long.
“It’s not just about the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram but how they spend that time,” Facebook said in a blog post Wednesday. “It’s our responsibility to talk openly about how time online impacts people—and we take that responsibility seriously.”
Most companies haven’t focused on that issue until recently, following concerns from mental-health experts and industry critics about internet and device addiction, and the way technology is designed to keep users coming back for more. In June, for example, Apple introduced “Screen Time,” an activity report that will show how much time users are spending on individual apps and how often they pick up their iPhones. Google announced similar controls in May.
Facebook has been working on improving the way people feel about its website, which has been a destination for political bickering, misinformation, clickbait and viral videos. The social network earlier this year pledged to change the mix of its news feed to emphasize conversations that are meaningful between friends and family, as opposed to content designed specifically to go viral. The changes have affected how much time people spend on the site, which could in turn affect Facebook’s ad revenues. The company has said that it expects sales growth to slow in the coming years—and revenue fell short of estimates in the second quarter, sending Facebook stock down 19 percent in a day last week.
“We want the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram to be intentional, positive and inspiring,” the company said.
As part of this push, Facebook said it convened a summit with online safety experts, researchers and teens in March to talk about technology and how it’s influencing well-being. It plans to tweak its products to further address concerns like a lack of kindness online.
Meanwhile, the company is grappling with its impact on society in other ways. It disclosed on Tuesday that it identified an ongoing effort to use its platforms to influence the U.S. midterm election, via a network of false-identity accounts and pages. The company says it doesn’t yet know who is behind the coordinated campaign, which follows a similar effort, linked to Russia, ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
Facebook’s second-quarter results revealed that it is no longer growing in the U.S. and Canada, its most valuable geographic region; shares dropped nearly 20 percent in after-hours trading and will likely fall this morning when the market opens. The social media giant added just 22 million new daily active users worldwide, its lowest increase since at least early 2011. Facebook has been hampered by scandal after scandal for the past 18 months, but until now, it hasn’t seen an impact on user growth or revenue. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
According to a new report from The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which incorporates the responses of more than 74,000 people in 37 countries about their digital news consumption habits, the use of social media for news is declining, almost entirely driven by people turning away from Facebook.
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is in a constant state of flux. In the below timeline, we mark the major changes both marketers and businesses need to be aware of. With Facebook’s 1.98 billion monthly active users, it continues to be critical for businesses to have a presence on the platform.