Teens dumping Facebook? Not true says Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook's chief operating officer weighs in on young teens on-again, off-again engagement with the aging social network.


Facebook isn't on the outs among teenagers, at least according to its chief operating officer.

In an interview with AllThingsD published on Friday, Sheryl Sandberg responded to concerns that the social network has seen a drop in its teenage population. Those concerns were triggered a few weeks ago following comments by CFO David Ebersman.

"Our best analysis on youth engagement in the US reveals that usage of Facebook among US teens overall was stable from Q2 to Q3, but we did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens ," Ebersman said during the company's third-quarter conference call.

But Sandberg said the reaction to Ebersman's comment has been "blown out of proportion" and insisted that US teenage use of Facebook is stable.

"The vast majority of US teens are on Facebook" she said. "And the majority of US teens use Facebook almost every day."

Sandberg did concede that the social network faces a challenge because it's now ten years old.

"That means that we're not the newest. And often, particularly in our space, newer things are shinier and cooler," Sandberg told AllThingsD.

Facebook is not trying to be the coolest or the newest but instead the most useful, Sandberg said. Looking at the way teenagers use Facebook, the site remains useful to them, she added.

Questions over the social network's ability to appeal to teens remain a concern after what was otherwise a stellar third quarter. Facebook reported an overall engagement rate -- the ratio of daily active users to monthly active users -- of more than 61 percent. The company also reported $2.02 billion in revenue and made 49 percent -- or $882 million -- of its advertising revenue from mobile products.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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