Instagram and Snapchat, far away from the prying eyes of aunts and uncles who have learnt to use Facebook, appear to have become the favourite social media haunts of Indian youth even though the country recently surpassed the US to become the Mark Zuckerberg-led social networking site's largest market.
"Family members being on Facebook is one of the reasons why I'm not active on it anymore. If I'm watching a football match or am in a pub, I can't really post what is going on in my head. I can't really swear or express my emotions the way I want to," says Mohamed Mustafa, final-year engineering student at NIT Calicut. He still has an account on the platform, but prefers Snapchat. None of his friends post anything much on Facebook either, he adds.
Delhi-based fashion content creator Karishma Kambo says a majority of her target audience, which is the younger age bracket, is active on Instagram these days. "So, I get more value for my work there. It is a great creative outlet. Facebook is now big among people probably my mother's age," she adds.
While social media has become an integral part of modern-day life with even a day marked for it (June 30), users say the 12-year old Facebook is aging. It is making way for Instagram and Snapchat, especially among the all-important age group of 18-35 whose eyeballs these platforms vie for. Interestingly, Facebook owns Instagram.
This trend in India is along the lines of a study by eMarketer which found that Facebook lost 2.8 million US users under 25 in 2017. It estimated that Facebook will lose about 2.1 million users in the US under the age of 25 in 2018.
The study also estimated Instagram's US user base will grow by 13 per cent in 2018 to almost 105 million. And Snapchat's user base in the US will grow by 9 per cent in 2018 to 86.5 million.
Nevertheless, 178 million of Facebook's estimated 270 million-strong user base in India belongs to the 18-35 age group, according to figures from Statista. But this could be because a number of youngsters say they continue to have a Facebook account simply because they can't be bothered enough to get off it altogether.
In comparison, older age groups in India account for 45.71 million users, according to Statista figures. Even though Facebook has borrowed a lot of features like stories, boomerangs and filters from Instagram and Snapchat, users generally don't prefer using them on Facebook because there are thousands of friends on Facebook friend lists and the whole world will come to know about the posts, says 25-year-old Zeba Pall, a Bengaluru-based fashion designer.
"On Instagram and Snapchat, you can be choosier about adding people to your list. But going back and trimming the friend's list or unfriending people on Facebook is too much work now. Why would one go through that when one can choose to be on Instagram and Snapchat instead," she adds.
INSTAGRAM & SNAPCHAT GAIN
- Social networking site launched in 2006
- India is its largest market with 270 million users
- Around 178 million of them estimated to be in the 18-35 age group
- Photo-sharing platform launched in 2010. It was bought by Facebook in 2012
- India is the third largest market after US and Brazil, with 59 million users as of April 2018
- It is estimated that 79% of them are in the 18-34 age group
- Multimedia messaging app launched in 2011
- Has around 16 million Indian users
- A majority belong to the 18-24 age group