Teens still think Facebook (FB) is awesome, according to a new report, dispelling fears that the social network is losing its luster with teens who prefer newer services like Snapchat.
Seventy-one percent of teens said they use Facebook, the Pew Research Center found, making it the most used of any social media service. Meanwhile, half of teens said they use Facebook’s photo sharing site Instagram, and 40% said they use Snapchat, the app for sending messages that disappear.
The findings, released Thursday, counter concerns in recent years that Facebook is in decline with school kids, whose fickle tastes mean that no social media service can count on their loyalty for long. In 2013, for example, Facebook’s chief financial officer acknowledged that the social network’s growth among teens had plateaued, raising investors’ fears of an impending exodus of a core group of users.
No kid wants to gab with friends on a site increasingly used by mom and dad, the theory went. But what in fact happened was a more nuanced, with teens continuing to use Facebook while also adopting a generation of newer services, such as Instagram, Twitter (TWTR), and Snapchat.
Of the entire bunch, Facebook is the most frequently used by 41% of teens, according to the Pew study, which was based on a survey of 1,060 children aged 13 to 17. Instagram, which Facebook acquired for $1 billion in 2012, came in second, with 20% listing it as their go-to service. Snapchat was third with 11% describing it as the service they used most often.
Facebook, of course, is still under intense pressure to remain popular with children. And the social media pecking order can always change. But Facebook has shown a willingness to stay relevant with teens by opening its big checkbook. In 2013, it unsuccessfully tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion, and then, a year later, acquired messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion.