It's probably something of an understatement to suggest that Facebook is going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment.
Nearly two weeks ago, it emerged that the social media giant had allowed marketing agency Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal information of 50 million user accounts.
And it hasn't just been Cambidge Analytica - it merely made the most of Facebook's terms and conditions to harvest not just information about everyone who had been paid to complete a questionnaire on Facebook, but all their Facebook friends, too.
This excessively generous app permission was only closed in 2015 but, let's face it, if you publish something online, under your own name, anyone can download it, database it and do what they want with it without so much as a by-your-leave.
It may not be entirely legal in terms of data protection laws, but who's to know?
Facebook is kind-of associated with older and middle-aged people
But in the media firestorm following the Cambridge Analytica revelations, Facebook has come under fire for its lackadaisical attitude towards its users' personal data. And change could very well be in the air.
On 29 March, Facebook unveiled simplified privacy settings and promised to curb its dealings with data brokerage firms. While the simplification of privacy settings is long overdue, the change in its relationship with data brokers could very well undermine the company's profitability.
However, people are still outraged, and Mark Zuckerberg now has the pleasure of an appointment with members of US Congress over his company's track record on data privacy, even if he's chosen to snub Parliament in the UK.
Meanwhile, shares in the firm continue to fall and many people are asking whether Facebook's days are numbered. I would argue that they have been for some time due to the company's inability to attract new, young users.
Founded in February 2004, Facebook is one of the internet's oldest social media networks. While platforms such as Myspace and Beebo fell by the wayside, it simply grew and grew.
But plenty of studies have indicated that Facebook started on the long road to irrelevance some time ago.
I'm seeing fewer and fewer of my closest friends and family using Facebook for its main purposes
According to research from eMarketer, the number of 12-17 year olds using the platform decreased by 9.9 per cent (1.4 million users) last year.
Originally, the analyst firm estimated that Facebook's younger user base would decline by 3.4 per cent, so eMarketer's figures suggest that this is happening more rapidly than originally thought.
Overall, it expects another two million people under 25 to leave the social networking site in the coming months.
Facebook just isn't cool
Why is this happening, though?
Most young people just don't think Facebook is cool anymore and are using different social media sites instead. Snapchat and Instagram (which, admittedly, is owned by Facebook) are currently seen as the trendier apps, and interestingly, they're both image-sharing platforms.
In 2017, eMarketer predicted that Snapchat's millennial user base would increase by 19.2 per cent, with Instagram getting an 8.8 per cent increase. "Both [Instagram and Snapchat] have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate — that is, using visual content," said analyst Oscar Orozco at the time.
Megan Rees, a 20-year-old student from South Wales, agrees that Facebook has become out-of-touch. While she hasn't abandoned the platform altogether, her social media networks of choice are Snapchat and Instagram, not Facebook.
Speaking to V3, she said: "My generation is obsessed with picture sharing, and there's also the fact that Facebook is kind-of associated with older and middle-aged people."
Lost sense of purpose
However, it's not just younger people who are leaving Facebook. Elliot Thomas, a social media entrepreneur himself, believes that Facebook is in a "tricky situation" because its users are becoming increasingly aware that their personal data isn't necessarily safe.
He says that it wasn't the Cambridge Analytica story that has provoked this reaction but, rather, because people have noticed that Facebook has evolved from a communication tool to a website cluttered with advertisements.
"People have become very aware of what they are sharing online, in comparison to when Facebook first came to market. I'm seeing fewer and fewer of my closest friends and family using Facebook for its main purposes. Who knows what the future holds? But for now, Instagram is king," he suggests.
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, managing director of Clearly PR, believes that the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal will "go beyond the $60bn that has been wiped off Facebook's market value".
Casting doubt on the firm's very future, he said: "It even extends beyond the big brands who have recently declared their intention to ditch the platform altogether and take their advertising budgets elsewhere (although they have yet to do so). It is the impact on its reputation that will have the greatest impact.
"There is a collective condemnation of Facebook's actions - few brands or users will mildly sit back in a tut-tut fashion.
"However, although Facebook's reputation has been called into question no less than 11 times since 2011, this incident - or crisis - does feel very different.
"This time, the impact of their actions has been far-reaching and perhaps more damaging than even the most pessimistic of observers may have assessed," MacKenzie-Cummins told V3.
For the immediate future, it's fair to say that there isn't much around that could challenge Facebook, or provide a similar alternative - even if MySpace is still going for some inexplicable reason.
But how does a social media website reinvent itself and continue growing when it either can't attract young new users or existing users start to distrust it?
Facebook execs may not have realised as the profits piled up in recent years, but the seeds of its decline have already been sown.
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