Belgian youngsters turn their back on Facebook

The number of Belgians who are active on Facebook dropped by 7.3 percent between February and August this year, figures supplied by digital marketing and social media consultants Xavier Degraux show. It's mostly youngsters who are turning their backs on Facebook: they switch to Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, both owned by... Facebook.  

It's not new that youngsters are leaving Facebook and turning to Instagram. However, while this decrease was compansated by a growth in the 55+ section, this trend has now stopped. 

The drop can be seen in almost every age category. The number of Facebook users aged beteen 13 and 17 diminished by 5 percent to reach 310,000. Two years ago, they still accounted for 430,000 users. The 18-24 age category sees a decrease of 7 percent, while the 55-64 category had a 8.5 percent fall. However, the 25-34 category did worst, with a drop of 13 percent. 

Experts agree that the recent privacy schandals are having an effect. In the Cambridge Analytica schandal, private data of Facebook users could be leaked to a private company because of bugs in the Facebook software. "Those schandals have made people think. They realise they are wasting their time on Facebook and have adapted their social media behaviour", says social media professor Karolien Poels. Another thing is that fake news spreads fast on Facebook. 

Degraux used advertisement figures for their study, since Facebook does not make any statements on its number of users.