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Survey: Teens’ enthusiasm for Facebook is waning

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A new survey suggests some U.S. teens may be losing interest in Facebook, although they remain active on the site.
A new survey suggests some U.S. teens may be losing interest in Facebook, although they remain active on the site.

(CNN) — There’s fresh evidence that American teenagers may be growing weary of Facebook.

They don’t like the fact that their parents, grandparents and other adults are also there, diluting Facebook’s “cool” factor. They complain about their friends’ oversharing, and about too much “drama” on the site. And they’re increasingly flocking to other social platforms, such as Twitter.

These are some of the findings of a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. teens’ social media use. Released Tuesday, the survey finds that teens are sharing more personal information on social media, but are also taking a variety of steps to manage their privacy online.

But it was the Facebook stuff that generated the most headlines. According to Pew, focus-group discussions with teens revealed “waning enthusiasm” for Facebook for the reasons cited, including feeling “drained by the ‘drama’ that they described as happening frequently” on the site.

“The stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook also contributes to the lack of enthusiasm,” the survey said.

The Pew survey found that 24% of online teens now use Twitter, up from 16% in 2011. Other social platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), YouTube and Snapchat also have seen big growth among young users in the past year.

“Those teens who used sites like Twitter and Instagram reported feeling like they could better express themselves on these platforms, where they felt freed from the social expectations and constraints of Facebook,” the Pew survey said. “Nevertheless, the site is still where a large amount of socializing takes place, and teens feel they need to stay on Facebook in order to not miss out.”

Facebook has 1.1 billion users worldwide and remains the most popular social network among U.S. teens.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment specifically Wednesday on the Pew report but pointed to statements by CFO David Ebersman in a recent conference call about quarterly earnings, in which he emphasized Facebook’s popularity among users under 25.

“We continue to have really high penetration rates among that age group, both in the U.S. and globally, and … younger users remain among the most active and engaged users,” Ebersman said. “Younger users are extremely active users of Instagram as well.”

Facebook executives maintain that teen use of their social network has remained steady. They argue that Facebook is not losing users to other platforms — instead, they say, more users are visiting other social media sites in addition to Facebook.

“The urban legend (that Facebook is losing younger users) flows more often than not from surveys people have done of younger users that indicate that they’re using other social services … much of the concern stems from the assumption that this is a zero-sum game, and that’s not how we see it,” Ebersman said. “We think the overall amount of time spent on services that enable you to connect and share is growing and will continue to grow.”

Jeff Hancock, a professor of communication at Cornell University and a frequent social media analyst, mostly agrees.

“Facebook’s attraction to youth is based in part on being connected, but also on being an ‘ingroup’ and ‘cool’ thing. To the degree that the cool of Facebook wears off, we should see some migration of teens to other platforms,” he said.

“People are unlikely to fully leave Facebook but simply to diversify their tools for accomplishing social interaction. Instead of Facebook being the Walmart of social media, it will become just one platform in a big ecology, including photo sharing with Instragram, broadcasting with Twitter, etc.”

Pew’s findings are based on a nationally representative phone survey, run by its Internet & American Life Project, of 802 teens ages 12-17. It was conducted between July 26 and September 30, 2012. Pew also conducted two online focus groups of teenagers ages 12-17 in June 2012.

Pew found that the typical (median) teen Facebook user has 300 friends, while the typical teen Twitter user has 79 followers.

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FACEBOOK IS TESTING ITS VERY OWN DATING APP

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Yes, Facebook Dating is a real thing. And we may have just received a sneak peek.

Jane Manchun Wong — an app researcher who’s spotted Facebook features in the past, like Talent Show — posted photos from what she claims is an internal test of Facebook Dating.

 

The company wouldn’t say whether these pics are the real deal, although it did confirm it’s testing Facebook Dating internally.

Two months ago, at its F8 developer conference, Facebook shared that it was developing a dating app. Aspiring yenta Mark Zuckerberg explained it was “going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not hookups.”

Later, on its blog, Facebook dished out a few more details: “People will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile — and potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends. They’ll have the option to discover others with similar interests through their Groups or Events.”

From Wong’s photos, it looks like the app will let you prevent your current Facebook friends from seeing your dating profile, thus avoiding potential embarrassment. It’ll also offer a variety of gender options, including trans man, trans woman, and non-binary.

No word on when, exactly, Facebook Dating will become available to the public. Guess you’ll just have to make do with Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, Happn, Grindr, Hinge, and the thousands of other dating apps out there in the meantime.

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WHATSAPP MESSAGES AND SENDERS CAN BE ALTERED AFTER YOU RECEIVED THEM, SAY RESEARCHERS

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Security researchers have discovered that it’s possible for hackers to change both the content and the sender of a WhatsApp message after you’ve received it …

This includes the ability to change quoted messages, to make it appear you said something you didn’t.

CNET reports that the possibility was discovered by Check Point Software Technologies.

The firm] found that hackers can create a hacked version of the app and alter a quoted message (a past one that someone is replying directly one) to change the content or sender.

The hacker would, however, need to be part of the chat, so the vulnerability mostly applies to group chats.

WhatsApp told the NYT that it was not aware of the technique being used in the wild, and a cure would be worse than the problem.

One solution would be to create transcripts of every message exchange to verify the accuracy of every quote. Creating such a transcript is a significant privacy risk because those accounts of what people wrote to each other must be stored somewhere, the company said.

All WhatsApp messages are protected by end-to-end encryption, which means that only those within a chat would be able to exploit the loophole. Storing a transcript would effectively mean removing that end-to-end encryption.

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WHATSAPP INTRODUCES GROUP CALLS FOR UP TO 4 PEOPLE

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Times after Messenger launched the video call option, WhatsApp rolls out its new feature for conference video calling. The new WhatsApp feature is now available to facilitate the users around the globe on iOS and Android.

Distinctly, the group calling feature supports up to four people at the same time.

The functionality is pretty simple: To start the video call with one of the contacts, a button on the top right corner of the screen will let the user add another participant to call.

Once the call gets connected, an add icon appears, on the top right, above the names of the recipients. However, if the third user accepts the call their names will be separated with a comma. The feature can connect up to four people on a video call, all at the same time.

Noteworthy is the fact that this feature only works on the latest version of WhatsApp.

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