Facebook Is More Addictive and Widely Used Than Ever
Facebook's famous ability to suck up people's time is greater than ever. The social network is used by 57 percent of adults in the United States and more than 70 percent of teenagers, and 64 percent of those users spend time on the platform every day, up from 51 percent in 2010, according to a report released Monday by the Pew Research Center.
The report comes on the eve of Facebook's 10th anniversary, an unthinkable milestone for most digital startups. Facebook reaches double digits as the dominant social networking platform in the world, with more than 1.2 billion users globally.
Although, as mentioned, fewer than 60 percent of all U.S. adults use Facebook, more than 70 percent of American adults who use the internet have Facebook accounts.
The things people like about Facebook will come as no surprise to anyone who has used the site. They like seeing photos and videos from friends, they like sharing life updates with many people at once and they like getting comments. On the other hand, they don't like it when friends share too much or when other people post pictures of them without their permission.
As for the much-discussed "fear of missing out" phenomenon -- in which social media sites are said to inspire anxiety and envy by making users aware of social activities in which they are not themselves engaged -- only 5 percent of respondents said they strongly disliked this aspect of Facebook. Eighty-four percent of users say they aren't bothered at all.
Another myth of sorts that Pew addresses in its report is the claim that teens are fleeing Facebook for newer apps, a claim which gained wide currency last year, in part because of Pew's own findings. But these findings were blown out of proportion. Seventy-three percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 still use Facebook. Nevertheless, in a joke straight of Facebook's romantic-status options, Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, said that "teens' relationship with Facebook is complicated and may be evolving."
Indeed, earlier Pew reports have demonstrated that increasing numbers of young people are active on multiple social media platforms, with a few leaving Facebook behind in favor of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and other new apps. But most have not stopped using Facebook even as they diversify their online activity.
Even people who don't themselves use Facebook find it hard to escape the social network's ubiquity. More than half of internet users who don't have Facebook accounts say they live with at least one other person who does. And many of them are hardly less susceptible to the social network's pull. Twenty-four percent of non-Facebook users who live with a Facebook user report looking at photos and posts on that person's account.