Millions of Americans have left Facebook, led by young people aged 12-34

A new report from Edison Research finds Facebook's American user-base contracted for the second consecutive year in 2018, shrinking by 15,000,000, and that the biggest declines have come from the coveted 12-34 year old group.

However — cue sad trombone — is that large numbers of these people have shifted to using Instagram, which Facebook owns. Facebook recently announced that it would be merging the back-ends of Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger, facilitating unified tracking and targeting across all three services.

Facebook did grow among adults over 55.

Facebook has consistently touted growth, despite these figures; Edison Research president Larry Rosin speculates that Facebook is using some combination of measuring global users (rather than US users) and a very loose definition of "active user" to artificially inflate its figures.

Adams: But if we look at Facebook's earnings report, they are still reporting an increasing number of active users. What's behind the difference between what the company is saying and what your survey found?

Rosin: When they're producing those numbers, they're typically talking about their global platform. This is a survey just of the USA. Furthermore, we're asking about usage. We're saying, "Do you currently use Facebook?" Facebook is probably measuring it on, "Do you ever open the app, or do you ever use it on any level?"

U.S. users are leaving Facebook by the millions, Edison Research says [Kimberly Adams/Marketplace]

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