The clock is TikToking: teens will eventually find their way to ...

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The clock is TikToking: teens will eventually find their way to Facebook

Younger generations will grow up and need the same services their parents are getting from the social media platform

Conor Sen

Does Facebook’s declining relevance with teenagers really pose an existential threat to the company? After all, Facebook’s most loyal users are people over the age of 30 and today’s teens are tomorrow’s 30-somethings — if they don’t start using Facebook while they’re young, there’s no guarantee they will later in life.

But Facebook today serves a different purpose than it did a decade ago, and would-be challengers such as Snapchat and TikTok aren’t well-positioned to threaten the social media platform’s dominance with older users. To do that they’d probably have to change their products significantly to more closely resemble Facebook, perhaps turning off their core base of young people.

The reasons teenagers find Facebook lame also explain why older users find it essential: it’s become a digital hub for news, politics and interest groups. I’m on my city’s planning commission and when we switched to virtual meetings during the onset of the pandemic, one of the ways we did that was by broadcasting our sessions live on Facebook. Local elected officials and city government departments post news and updates. My wife is a member of multiple local mom groups where she’ll buy and sell children’s clothing and toys. It’s a place where communities post notices of events and other social gatherings. It’s generally just a big ball of stuff relevant to older people that would be hard for another company to unbundle...

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