The following is an excerpt from Will Oremus | July 31, 2017 | Slate.com |
Facebook was supposed to be washed up by now. Four years ago, reports of a decline in usage by teens spurred a wave of predictions that it was headed the way of Myspace. Teens’ fickle taste was presumed to imply that no social network could keep its throne for very long.
Yet here we are in 2017, and Facebook’s grip on social media is stronger than ever. The company reported last week that Facebook itself is used by an astonishing 2 billion people each month. That’s close to twice as many active users as it had in 2013, when the doomsaying began.
Perhaps more importantly for the company’s long-term future, two of its subsidiaries—Instagram and WhatsApp—are still growing at impressive rates in their own right. And much of that growth is coming from the same young demographic that was once seen as a threat to Facebook’s dominance. A recent study named Instagram the most popular app among U.S. teens age 13–17.
At the same time, the types of upstart rivals that once seemed destined to overtake Facebook are floundering. Twitter went public in 2013, a few months after the “Facebook isn’t cool anymore” narrative took hold. But its growth since then has essentially flatlined. As recently as nine months ago, industry watchers were touting Snapchat and its new augmented-reality Spectacles as a potential usurper of Facebook’s crown. Then Snap went public, and the hype balloon popped almost immediately. Now Twitter and Snap are the ones enduring gloomy warnings about their future obsolescence.
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