A study by GlobalWebIndex (GWI) - the biggest of its kind ever conducted into social media - has revealed findings about the current popularity of Facebook, indicating that coverage of its decline in use by teens has been exaggerated.
The 'Social Q4 2013’ study consisted of interviews with 170,000 social media users in 32 counties, representing 89 per cent of the global Internet population, according to the research company.
The findings challenge conclusions made by University College London, which claimed that ‘Facebook is dead and buried to teens’. Tom Smith, founder and CEO of GWI said: "Our study shows that reports of ‘the death of Facebook’ have been greatly exaggerated”.
While Facebook has seen a marginal drop in usage among young people - three per cent over the second half of 2013 - this is not representative of broader trends, according to GWI.
Facebook remains the world's number one social network, topping measures of account ownership, active usage and visit frequency.
"We’ve been able to show that Facebook is still used by 48.5 per cent of 16 to 19 year olds globally on a monthly basis, with 67 per cent more active teen users than the nearest competitor, YouTube, with 29 per cent," said Smith.
Other findings from the study indicate that messaging apps surged in growth between Q2 and Q4 of last year. The estimated audience size for WeChat rose by 379 per cent, with Vine up 105 per cent, SnapChat up 54 per cent and WhatsApp up 35 per cent.