In recent months there have been a spate of articles suggesting that teens are moving away from Facebook in droves. Teens love Twitter, they message each other using WhatsApp, Lime, and other platforms, plus the fact that they are sending more photos using Snapchat then on Facebook. The latter understanding brought numerous reports that Facebook is desperate to acquire Snapchat and apparently had a $3 billion offer rebuffed by Snapchat’s CEO, Evan Spiegel.
Outside of Snapchat rumors, the aforementioned reports came following Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s last earnings report when CFO David Ebersman admitted that in the past quarter, the company “did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens.”
Facebook’s teen problem exaggerated
However, in a recent interview with Mike Isaac of AllThingsD, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg rubbished the suggestion that Facebook was struggling with its teen users and she believes that Ebersman’s comments were exaggerated by the press.
“So I think the reaction to that comment has been blown out of proportion. As we said on the earnings call, overall U.S. teen usage of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) remains stable.The vast majority of U.S. teens are on Facebook. And the majority of U.S. teens use Facebook almost every day,” she said.
This statement was made before she talked about the Saturday Night Live skit that made fun of “Moms on Facebook.” She then pointed out that Facebook will never be the “newest or shiniest” given that Facebook has been around for over ten years. Consequently, Facebook’s relevance and staying power needs to lie in its utility.
Sandberg vague but positive
When asked directly about Snapchat and any plans Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) might have to acquire the company, she flat-out refused to comment, dodging the question with, “So, what I would say on this is that we are the leader in a growing space. Social sharing, personal sharing, using your mobile device to share is exploding. We and other services are continuing to grow because of it.”
Later in the interview, Sandberg spoke of how the lack of more ads in the News Feed spooked investors and sent Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock falling. “Remember that, not so long ago, we had zero ads in the News Feed. And as we’ve made the shift to being a mobile-first company focusing on mobile revenue, we’ve put ads into the News Feed carefully, watching user sentiment all along the way. We’re pleased not just with how it’s driving the bottom line and giving us a strong mobile ads business, but on the impact on how users are continuing to use Facebook.”
All and all, Sandberg was quite coy but doesn’t believe that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) needs to worry about its teenage users.