Social media apps. — © AFP
US teens have left Facebook in droves over the past seven years, preferring to spend time at video-sharing venues YouTube and TikTok, according to a Pew Research Center survey data out Wednesday.
TikTok has “emerged as a top social media platform for US teens” while Google-run YouTube “stands out as the most common platform used by teens,” the report’s authors wrote.
Pew’s data comes as Facebook-owner Meta is in a battle with TikTok for social media primacy, trying to keep the maximum number of users as part of its multi-billion dollar ad-driven business.
The report said some 95 percent of the teens surveyed said they use YouTube, compared with 67 percent saying they are TikTok users.
Just 32 percent of teens surveyed said they log on to Facebook — a big drop from the 71 percent who reported being users during a similar survey some seven years ago.
Once the place to be online, Facebook has become seen as a venue for older folks with young drawn to social networks where people express themselves with pictures and video snippets.
About 62 percent of the teens said they use Instagram, owned by Facebook-parent Meta, while 59 percent said they used Snapchat, researchers stated.
“A quarter of teens who use Snapchat or TikTok say they use these apps almost constantly, and a fifth of teen YouTube users say the same,” the report said.
In a bit of good news for Meta’s business, its photo and video sharing service Instagram was more popular with US teens than it was in the 2014-2015 survey.
Meanwhile, less than a quarter of the teens surveyed said they ever use Twitter, the report said.
The study also confirmed what casual observers may have suspected, 95 percent of US teens say they have smartphones, while nearly as many of them have desktop or laptop computers.
And the share of teens who say they are online almost constantly has nearly doubled to 46 percent when compared to survey results from seven years ago, researchers noted.
The report was based on a survey of 1,316 US teens, ranging in age from 13 years old to 17 years old, conducted from mid-April to early May of this year, according to Pew.
Twitter Expands Content Recommendations, Showing Users More Tweets from Profiles They Don’t Follow
Suddenly seeing a heap more random accounts appear in your Twitter feed?
This is why – today, Twitter ramped up its tweet recommendations for a heap more users.
We want to ensure everyone on Twitter sees the best content on the platform, so we’re expanding recommendations to all users, including those who may not have seen them in the past.
You can learn more about them, and how to best control your experience: https://t.co/ekYWf57JSc
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 30, 2022
So you’re going to see more tweets in your feed based on things like:
- Interests based on tweet activity
- Topics you follow
- Tweets you’ve engaged with
- Tweets people in your network like
- People followed by people you follow
There’s a heap of expanded exposure potential here, and Twitter, in an effort to juice engagement, is looking to keep people in the app for as long as possible, which, ideally, these recommendations will facilitate.
It’s similar to how Facebook and Instagram are now showing you more AI-based content recommendations, which stems from TikTok, and its focus on highlighting the most relevant content to each user, which is not directly tied to your own social graph.
There was a time when your social graph was the defining factor, which gave Facebook a huge advantage, but now, there’s been a bigger shift towards entertainment over social interaction, which expands the potential to show each user more interesting content, from a much broader range of sources.
Conceptually it makes sense, but it’s largely reliant on the platform algorithms being actually good at showing you the best content, based on your interests. TikTok is very good at this, hooking into your expressed likes and dislikes based on your viewing history.
Twitter, however, not so much.
In my experience, Twitter’s recommended topics are always pretty far off, and even within those topics, the tweets it highlights tend to also be off-topic, uninteresting, and even just weird a lot of the time.
Right now, Twitter seems convinced that I’m interested in ‘AirBnB’, ‘beauty Influencers’ and ‘Blink 182’. I’m not interested in any of these things, which I’ve tried to tell Twitter’s algorithms by selecting the ‘Not interested in this topic’ option – yet every time I re-open the app, they’re on my Explore page once again.
It could be worse – last month it was showing me ‘Peanuts’ comics, so I had Charlie Brown’s massive head staring back at me every time I tapped over to the Explore tab.
Again, I’ve directly told Twitter that I’m not interested, but it keeps showing them to me, while today, after this new announcement, this is what my feed currently looks like:
And they just keep coming – every time I scroll back to the top, another 20 tweets are in my feed, with 80% being recommendations.
Look, this is probably a short-term push, and maybe it helps people discover new users to follow, and helps Twitter boost engagement. But again, if you’re seeing a heap more recommendations, this is why.
Hopefully, the feedback will help Twitter refine its topic and content streams.