updated 01:47 pm EST, Fri November 22, 2013
Sandberg says teenage use stays stable
Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg said this week that the tech media has exaggerated the company's problems with teenagers, and that reports of declining engagement among younger users are overblown. Pulse 2.0 carried a report of Sandberg's most recent comments, which came in the midst of Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference event. Asked about Facebook CFO David Ebersman's comments on teen use during the company's last earnings call, Sandberg said that those comments had been misinterpreted.
"We did see a decrease in daily users, partly among younger teens," noted Ebersman. Additional surveys have backed up Ebersman's statement, finding that the number of teenagers who had "liked" a post on Facebook fell dramatically from the first quarter of 2013 to the third. Sandberg is unswayed by such indicators.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Image via Cnet
"So I think the reaction to that comment has been blown out of proportion," she said at Dreamforce. "As we said on the earnings call, overall U.S. teen usage of Facebook remains stable."
The Facebook exec did acknowledge, though, that the social network will face challenges going forward.
"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," Sandberg added. "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."
Among those "newer things" could be the upstart image sharing service Snapchat. The ephemeral messaging service has gained a great deal of traction among teens, a fact that Facebook is aware of. The social network reportedly tried to buy Snapchat twice over the past year, with the second offer being roughly $3 billion in cash. Snapchat rejected both offers.