Facebook Changes Clash with Millennial Mindset®

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

A new change in Facebook’s privacy policy makes covering up Millennial footprints harder than ever.  The policy adjustment, which went into effect a few weeks ago, allows any user to search a name whether they know the person or not.  Additionally, the Graph Search option on Facebook enables users to search for others through a broad search like “friends who like rock music.”  Many Millennials, who share the most on social media, are not happy about the change in privacy settings.

What does the new Facebook Graph Search do?

  • Makes your Facebook status, post, picture or comment publically accessible
  • Allows personal content to be used by online advertisers and marketers
  • Adjusts and minimizes previous policies that allowed more privacy

Millennials are the first generation that have grown up entirely with social media.  For Millennials, personalized advertisements and customized marketing messages are the most successful.  Facebook is capitalizing on this and allowing advertisers access to private user information through the Graph Search.  The new search option publicizes every user’s profile so advertising agencies have access to personal pictures and content on a user’s page unless the picture is manually blocked.  Now, with more lax privacy settings, Millennials should not be surprised to see their faces pop up on the next advertisement in their news feed.

As Facebook begins to increase advertising messages and corporate influence, the social media powerhouse begins to lose its authenticity that drove Millennials to this site in the first place. Still, Facebook is one of the largest social media vehicles on the market.  According to a Pew Research Center poll, even though Millennials are turning to other outlets like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, the majority use Facebook.

Social media usageHowever, the fear that Facebook will go the same way as Myspace, AOL and Yahoo is constantly growing.  In the most recent annual company report, released by Facebook, the company admitted that more and more younger Millennials are no longer happy with the service they find on Facebook and are turning elsewhere for their online entertainment and engagement.

So, what does this mean for Facebook?

As technology advances, so does the rate at which we expect the next best thing.  Facebook has become a very normal part of our daily lives so it is no longer exciting and new. Facebook has potentially hit its plateau while newer social media sites are still developing and growing their databases.   Will Facebook become the next Myspace?  It’s hard to say, but it is clear that younger Millennial users are no longer flocking to Facebook the way they did ten years ago.  As older Millennials update their profiles, younger Millennials seem to be deleting theirs.  Will Facebook make a drastic change in order attract the younger cohort or will the core Millennial friends of Facebook continue to “like” the new changes?

Leah Swartz contributed to this post.

Photo Credit: Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, February 2013.

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.