Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Facebook frequently keeps deleting fake and spam user accounts.
But, they were yet to see a reduced daily active user before 2022.
The loss of more than 1 million active users in the first half of 2022, in addition to businesses moving out of Facebook, had kept the executives awake.
The discussion in this article revolves around the potential stimulants behind Facebook losing active users in 2022. But doesn’t discuss some common reasons like increasing competition, poor product, and legal issues that were behind the demise of most social media platforms like G+, Orkut, and Myspace.
1. The Plenitude of Elderly Users
The generation that fostered Facebook in its early days has grown to their late 20s or mid-30s. They may not seem old enough to be called elderly, but their predecessors surely are.
The same generation that helped Facebook grow to its massive size, also helped their parents and family members jump on the bandwagon.
The users, who were in their late 40s at that time, are now in their 60s. Their socio-political views, inevitably, didn’t sit parallel with the newer generations. And since the parents, especially boomers, don’t find it easy to move to newer media, they chose to stick to Facebook. Driving Millenials and Gen Z away from it.
The newer generation, who were supposed to be the next user base for Facebook, didn’t want their parents, employers, and teachers to be involved in their expression of opinion and discussions.
2. Lack of New Innovative Ideas
Where the latest social media platforms pivoted to shorter video formats and photos, Facebook stuck to the long text and video formats. With the decreasing attention span and spare time available to the newer generations, it failed to resonate with their demands.
Since social media acts as a spare time activity for most, they didn’t want something that demands the focus of reading a book. The longer formats, appending to the inclusion of older generations, proved to be disastrous for the young.
The long posts and conservative opinions about politics and climate change weren’t something that they wanted to scroll indefinitely after a chaotic day at work.
Facebook failed the latest generations. Where it was supposed to cater to the demands of the changing mindset, it fell victim to obstinacy. It failed to offer any innovations to the newer generations who should’ve been their most spenders in the upcoming years.
3. The Emergence of “Network Effect”
Network effect refers to the incentive of joining a space where there already are a huge amount of participants. In the case of Facebook or any other social media, the incentive is the ability to socialize with friends, family, and in recent times — consuming content.
The same network effect that provided Facebook with Billions of daily active users, is taking it away. The lack of active users is snatching the incentive for new users to create or manage accounts regularly.
The potential new users of Facebook aren’t finding enough reasons to create an account on it where most of their connections aren’t active. The benefits of using Facebook have been replaced by other social media platforms like Whatsapp, Tiktop, and Instagram.
4. Absence of Appropriate Regulations
Facebook was denounced for spreading fake news, holding political biases, and inciting riots by a wide range of populations. Although the platform understandably refuses to accept the accusations, their association with the events can’t be discarded.
Even if they might not have a direct influence on the algorithms having “conservative bias”, the regulations to stop the spreading of fake news and riots were perceived as inadequate.
The newer generations like a social atmosphere that’s unbiased and far from controversies. They may be more vocal about political and social issues, but they refuse to let those define them. They may enjoy a squabble around the next NFL star or footballer, but they refuse to be blinded by their heroes.
These arguments may seem redundant, but the reduced effectiveness of traditional media like TV and radio advocates for the fact more than anything else. The newer generations focus more on their experience than anyone else’s in 2022; where Facebook failed them.
5. The Inception of New Scrolling Platforms
Endless scrolling seems to have caught everyone by their throats. The short scrollable platform like TikTok and Instagram are like psychedelic drugs. As much as you want to move out of it, the more you get lured back in. Newer social media platforms understand it.
They improvised with the needs of the newer generations quite perfectly. But Facebook failed to do so. Despite the introduction of videos in a separate tab, they can’t define where they stand. Their greed to keep everyone onboard has cost them their user base.
6. The Privacy-Related Controversies
The senate hearing of Zuckerberg in 2018 generated more memes than the actual news. But, Upon being asked about the data points Facebook carries for each user, despite him acting like he doesn’t understand the question, his discomfort was evident.
The controversy around Facebook harvesting exorbitant data on every user is not new, but with the data controversy of safety and harmful behavior surrounding children coming to light, the user base of Facebook was stirred. They couldn’t trust Facebook anymore with their and their family’s data. Facebook’s greed presented its demise.
7. Facebook Can't Grow Anymore
More frequently than not, businesses keep growing to survive. If a business, small or large, can’t keep a stable growth rate through the years, they are doomed to collapse. With Facebook spreading its branches to every corner of the world, they don’t have anywhere else to grow.
They have spread their wings to the very limit. Despite them knowing their decreasing user base and business, they can’t actively participate in expanding their operations without new innovative ideas.
The Bottom Line
Despite the loss of a vast user base, Facebook is still one of the most popular social media platforms around the globe. Forecasting its fall in a decade or two will be an overestimation at best. Although most of the reasons mentioned in this discussion depend heavily on the network effect, the loss of a mere million users shouldn’t bother Facebook much.