Around 65 million years ago, an asteroid larger than Manhattan thundered into the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico. With the disaster came one of the largest mass extinctions in history; almost three quarters of the planet’s species were wiped-out in a stroke. Among those that perished was the king of them all, the seemingly invulnerable Tyrannosaurus rex. Fast-forward to the present day and it might just be that Facebook, the razor-toothed apex predator of social media, is facing its own extinction.

Sound Crazy?
It should do, but the data is there. In Q4 2017, daily active users in North America fell for the first time ever, dropping by 1 million over the previous quarter. Worse, according to reliable projections, 2018 will also be the first year that Facebook sees a drop in users on a global scale. Not exactly the sort of news investors want to wake-up to.

What Happened?
Corruption. Mark Zuckerberg has long been the baddie in the social media drama, and his involvement in the political scandals that radiated out of the 2016 election have confirmed his malicious side once and for all. Congress roundly scolded the 33-year-old billionaire for Facebook’s alleged role in external political meddling, forcing Facebook to make changes in how it delivered content to its users. But since the January announcement that restrictions would be implemented on the placement of promoted content, things have gone from bad to worse, and not only for Facebook. Distractify, for instance, reported its monthly traffic decline 84 percent year over year in February, with most of the downturn accredited to declines in referrals from Facebook.

And then came the Cambridge Analytica Scandal
The revelation that the UK-based political consulting/data-mining firm had been actively digging into – and distributing – personal data for political gain was the final straw. The #DeleteFacebook movement was born and overnight, Facebook’s share price fell more than six percent.

But Advertising Is Up
It is, but don’t be fooled. As the online community regroups and begins to roll-out new strategies to work with the changes, it is natural to see investment rise; the competition is fiercer than ever. Still, if the audience isn’t there to listen, it doesn’t matter how loudly you shout.

It’s Been Coming
Let’s be fair; there isn’t anything new in what I’m saying. Thanks to Millennials – something you don’t hear very often – we’ve known for years that Facebook isn’t cool and it would eventually crumble. The biggest reason? Facebook is dominated by their parents. The majority of the platform’s users are over 35. The most active age group on Facebook falls into the 25-34-year-old category, with 35 to 44-year-olds not too far behind.

Yes, Facebook remains the most popular platform in the country, but the likes of Instagram and SnapChat are hot on its tail and those are the online hangouts of choice for the younger generation. And as society is quickly discovering, it is the young people who will soon hold all the power.

So, ask yourself Mr. Zuckerberg; has the asteroid finally struck? For if it has, there is only one outcome; you and your dinosaurs will soon be pushed aside. Dramatic? Maybe a little, but one thing’s for sure; all things rise, and all things fall… and I know where my bets lie.

Amadeus Finlay

Amadeus is our off-the-boat Irishman. Like all good sons of the Emerald Isle, Amadeus was born with a pen in his hand and a notebook stuffed under one arm. At Paris, Amadeus spends most of his time making connections and having fun on-screen, but despite that, writing remains his first love.