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Here is teens' favorite social network — and it's not Facebook

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5 2013 3:50 p.m. MST

Facebook's popularity among teens may be shifting.

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Teens are treating Facebook the same way they feel about living at home with their parents.

They say Facebook isn't cool, but they won't move out — yet.

As Glenn Peoples at Billboard reports, "Facebook's stickiness has come into doubt this week after signs that some teens are ditching Facebook in favor of other social media services. The latest evidence came directly from Facebook Wednesday afternoon. The company revealed in its third-quarter earnings call it has lost some popularity with younger users."

This means that there is a decrease in teens who use the network, especially younger teens, Peoples says Facebook admitted recently.

The Huffington Post showed a graph, using data from Piper Jaffray, showing that Facebook went from having 42 percent of teens saying it was their "most important" social media site in fall 2012, to only 23 percent saying it is their "most important" social media site in this fall.

Which social media site is beating Facebook up?

Twitter went from 27 percent to 26 percent of teens saying it was "most important." Instagram is close on Twitter's heels with 23 percent of teens saying it was their "most important" social media site.

Pew disputed these rumblings a bit back in August.

Mary Madden reports for Pew that teens were diversifying their social media habits: "This theme surfaced during our focus group discussions with teens and stood in contrast to the excitement that was associated with newer platforms like Instagram and Twitter," she says. "But sampling other items at the social media buffet is not the same as swearing off salad forever. As recent coverage has noted, our national survey data did not indicate a decrease in the total number of Facebook-using teens, even though the focus group findings suggest that teens' relationship with Facebook is complicated and may be evolving."

Some of that complex nature is articulated by Dave Williams at Ad Age: "In a world where it's considered rude to turn down a friend request, especially from a family member, teens were suddenly seeing their aunts, uncles and parents in their News Feeds. Twitter connections aren't mutual friendships as they are on Facebook; just because someone follows your tweets doesn't mean you have to follow them back. Teenaged users like this feature, and they're employing Twitter's simpler privacy controls as well, choosing to hide their tweets from public view and sending them only to a select group of friends."

Pew found that 94 percent of teens say they have a Facebook profile and 81 percent say it is the one they use most often.

Ah, but is it their "most important" social media platform?

Amanda Hess at Slate explains the angst found in the Pew study: "Facebook — as any adult with a profile knows — feels a lot like high school. … 'It's so competitive to get the most likes (on a Facebook picture). It's like your social position.' Ninety-four percent of American teenagers maintain a Facebook profile, but that doesn't mean they have to like it. 'Honestly,' one 15-year-old girl told Pew, 'I'm on it constantly but I hate it so much.'"

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @degroote, Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote

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