Teens have been fleeing broadcast social media platforms, in favor of more private ones.
Broadcast social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are now seeing their younger users flock to narrowcast tools, like Snapchat and Messenger. According to Time, more than 11 million of Facebook's young users have left the platform since 2011. A study published by the Pew Research Center revealed that about half of these users — owners of smartphones, between the ages of 18 and 29 — prefer private messaging apps such as Kik and WhatsApp. This figure decreases by as much as 55%, in regard to more public platforms, like Twitter and LinkedIn.
Felicity Duncan, a professor of digital media at Cabrini College (USA), examined this phenomenon, by interviewing students. Three risks of broadcast social media that kept coming up in Duncan's interviews were: how permanent broadcast social media is, the potential to overshare with family members, and people's fears about employers coming across their profiles. According to Duncan, this shift in social media use from public to private platforms may make targeted advertising and parental control over teens' internet experiences more difficult. She warns that it also marks a new pattern of users being more reserved online, which can both benefit young people and undo much of the social and political progress that broadcast social media platforms made possible.
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