Aussie teens DUMP Instagram – and refuse to go anywhere near Facebook – leaked company data says
- Both recorded a major slump in number of Australian users on their platforms
- Data showed young Australian users spending 36 minutes a day on Instagram
- Figure marks a drop of nine per cent in six months, researchers told executives
- Leaked documents showed drop in usage greater than in US, the UK and Japan
Instagram and Facebook have both recorded a significant slump in the number of Australian teenagers using their platforms, according to leaked company data.
Internal research presented to Facebook’s board in March showed Instagram’s young Australian users were spending only 36 minutes a day on the platform – a nine per cent drop in the space of six months.
Australian teenagers were also producing seven per cent less content on Instagram than they did before.
The ‘concerning’ drop in usage Down Under was greater than in the US, the UK and Japan, documents seen by The Australian revealed.
Instagram and Facebook have both recorded a significant slump in the number of Australian teenagers using their platforms
The internal data meanwhile found users under the age of 18 were leaving Facebook in greater numbers than before as they deemed it a ‘place for people in their 40s or 50s’.
‘Young adults want uplifting and motivating content, yet see Facebook content as negative, fake and boring,’ researchers said in a slide deck presented to company executives.
The researchers said younger users preferred SMS, iMessage and Zoom to connect with their family and friends.
The leaked documents were revealed by whistleblower Frances Haugen – a former Facebook employee who alleged in October the company was unwilling to sacrifice ‘even a slither of profit’ to protect its users’ safety and mental health.
Ms Haugen told Australian politicians in November to ‘stop trusting Facebook’.
‘The question of democracies being endangered is a real, real question,’ she said.
‘There is no way that Facebook can act in a safe way globally, without sharing data. There’s no way smaller countries are going to be able to kept safe, unless they can access their data.’
Facebook’s parent company Meta admitted the platform faced strong competition from other social media networks for teenage users
A spokesman for Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta admitted the platform faced tough competition from Snapchat and TikTok for teenage users.
‘All social media companies want teens to use their services,’ the spokesman said.
‘We are no different. That’s why we’re continuing to build new products and features that are entertaining and help teens, their friends and family stay connected to each other.’
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg last week rebranded the social media giant’s parent company as Meta to focus on its ambitions of building a ‘metaverse’.
‘Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future,’ he said.
The company, which has invested heavily in augmented and virtual reality, said the change would bring together its different apps and technologies under one new brand.
What is a metaverse? A fictional realm that merges virtual and augmented reality with the real world
The ‘metaverse’ is a set of virtual spaces where you can game, work and communicate with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.
Facebook explained: ‘You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more.
‘It’s not necessarily about spending more time online — it’s about making the time you do spend online more meaningful.’
While Facebook is leading the charge with the metaverse, it explained that it isn’t a single product one company can build alone.
‘Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not,’ it added.
‘And it won’t be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realized in the next 10-15 years.’