Young People Are Fleeing Traditional Big Tech Companies

Young People Are Fleeing Traditional Big Tech Companies

( – Social media companies have become immensely powerful because so many people have come to rely on them for news and information. That power might have a built-in expiry date, though. Generation Z — the group of enthusiastic, social media-obsessed young people Internet companies are always working to attract — is turning away from the big social media platforms and looking for alternatives.

Data collected by the Pew Research Center shows that the steady rise of social media isn’t happening the way we think it is. Since about 2007 the percentage of Americans who tell pollsters they’re on at least one social media platform has risen dramatically among all age groups. By 2014 the rate of increase had slowed, but numbers have continued to inch upward. If you break down the data by age groups, though, things start to get interesting.

Over-65s are the least likely to use social media, but since 2017, they’re also the ones most likely to start using it. That age group has the highest rate of increase, closely followed by the 50- to 64-year-old cohort. Among younger people aged 30-49, the number of social media users has more or less flatlined — and in the youngest group, aged 18-29, it’s actually falling. Social media use in this group peaked at around 90%, but now it’s well on the way back down to 80%.

What’s turning young people away from social media? A number of factors are apparently at play. Big platforms like Instagram have changed their business models to maximize profits, often by increasing advertising, and that’s made young users reluctant to trust them. At the same time newer apps like TikTok, which became popular in 2018, focus on allowing users to create and view content. The updated model is more appealing to teens and 20-somethings than traditional social media.

So what does this mean for the future? Mainly it indicates there are opportunities for upstart social media platforms. In a market that’s been dominated for years by Twitter, Facebook, and Google, younger users are now looking for something different.

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