Teens turn to Twitter as Facebook love wanes

JESSICA GUYNN
Last updated 11:20 24/05/2013

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Twitter is getting the youth vote.

Nearly a quarter of American teens now use Twitter to catch up with friends and keep track of celebrities, a big jump in usage as teens flock to different social media sites and spend less time on Facebook to avoid their parents and other adults as well as rampant "oversharing."

One in four online teens use Twitter, up from 16 percent in 2011, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. That's higher than the 16 percent of online adults who now use Twitter.

Teens are increasingly turning to Twitter, mobile photo-sharing service Instagram and social blogging service Tumblr, which was acquired by Yahoo on Monday for US$1.1 billion, as they express "waning enthusiasm" for Facebook, the survey found.

But Facebook remains the go-to social network for teens, with 94 percent of online teens saying they have a profile on Facebook and 81 percent saying it is the social network they use most often.

Seven percent of online teens say they use Twitter most often, while 3 percent say they use Instagram most often and 1 percent say Tumblr.

Teens are posting more and more personal information on social media. The survey found that teens are more likely than they were even a few years ago to post photographs, their hometown, name of their school, email address and mobile phone number.

On Facebook, 6 of 10 teens say they use restrictive privacy settings to be sure their posts are seen only by their friends. An additional 25 percent allow posts to be seen by friends of friends. On Twitter, a quarter of teens post updates privately to friends. Part of the appeal of Twitter: Teens don't have to use their real names, so they don't have to worry about updates turning up in Google searches or being discovered by parents.

One thing teens are not worried about: being targeted by online marketers and data brokers. Just 9 percent of teens said they were concerned about how their information is being collected. Nearly half of parents said they were concerned.

- MCT

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