Does Facebook Have A ‘Teen Problem?’ Not According To COO Sheryl Sandberg

By David Cohen 

BoredTeenager650When Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman admitted during the company’s third-quarter earnings call that the social network saw some slippage in daily usage by teens, the doomsday predictions began. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg sought to squash those predictions in an interview with Mike Isaac of AllThingsD.

When Isaac asked Sandberg about the “teen problem,” she responded:

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 remains stable. The vast majority of U.S. teens are on Facebook. And the majority of U.S. teens use Facebook almost every day.

I feel like I’ve lived this before. When I was first at Facebook just a few years in, adults were getting into Facebook in larger numbers, and there were all those memes that popped up — “Oh my God, my mom’s on Facebook!” and that sort of thing. I’m pretty sure “Saturday Night Live” even did a skit on it.

One of the challenges we face right now is that we’re a decade old. That means that we’re not the newest. And often, particularly in our space, newer things are shinier and cooler.

And what (Facebook Co-Founder and CEO) Mark (Zuckerberg) has said, and what we all believe, is that we’re not trying to be the coolest. And we’re not trying to be the newest. We’re trying to be the most useful.

I think if you look at the way teenagers continue to use Facebook, we are useful to them.

The comments from Ebersman during Facebook’s third-quarter earnings call were:

Our best synopsis on youth engagement in the U.S. reveals that usage of Facebook among U.S. teens overall was stable from the second quarter to the third quarter, so we did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens.

We are pleased that we remain close to fully penetrated among teens in the U.S., our monthly user numbers remain steady, and overall engagement on Facebook remains strong. We will continue to focus our development efforts to build products that drive engagement for people of all ages.

Other topics Sandberg discussed with Isaac included Snapchat, the social network’s advertising load in News Feed, mobile application install ads, and Gifts.

Readers: Do you think Facebook has a “teen problem?”

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.