It has been exactly 10 years since Mark Zuckerberg and his co-founders at Harvard University launched Facebook.
Initially it was destined exclusively for students. Recent reports, however, suggest younger users are fleeing.
Karen North, Professor of Social Media at the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Southern California (USC) explained:
“Kids are gravitating to things like Tumblr and Instagram and Snapchat and Whisper, and they’re looking at these more visual creative platforms, and they’re seeming far less enamored of Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that Facebook won’t maintain its relevance as an address book and a communication platform,” she says.
Although Facebook is considered by many to be the gold standard of social networking, it’s had its share of troubles from privacy concerns to fighting a growing online bullying epidemic.
Facebook user Tesit Campo is one of the many who still appreciates what the network has to offer: “It’s where everybody can meet up online and just do what they would do, if they were on campus, if they were on campus right now. So it’s really useful, it saves a lot of time, so that’s exactly what I’m looking for,” he said.
Harry Rayner, a student, is among a growing number though who have some concerns:
“Well, I think a lot of the time I don’t see the stories from the people that I would like to.” he said. “There’s a lot of unnecessary pages, too many ads, and then of course, all the stuff about your privacy being invaded, that’s not good either.”
The social media network was used as a platform to mobilise protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings. The Chinese government has restricted the site, perhaps fearing a similar outcome.
Investors rank Facebook as the most important social media site and it shows: profits are soaring. 1.5 billion dollars (1.1 billion euros) last year. The price per ad has surged 92 percent on average, even though the number of ad impressions is down.
Despite its mixed reviews, Facebook bosses know the site has to keep changing to stay relevant and therefore successful.