Facebook is declining in popularity among U.S. teens. The platform has lost 10 percent of its users aged 12-17 according to eMarketer. Ben Rubin, a 30-year old tech entrepreneur has developed a group video chat app that is gaining in popularity with teens. Can Houseparty replace Facebook?
The FT reports on Rubin’s goals for his app:
Two years ago he landed on the idea for Houseparty, where groups of up to eight friends gather to chat, moving in and out of “rooms” and meeting friends of friends. It has already hosted half a billion chats. The average time spent on the app has gone from zero at launch in September 2016 to 51 minutes a day.
Many teenagers do their homework in there. It is, for the uninitiated, like a more casual version of a FaceTime call. Most users are in the US, with the UK in second place.
Mr Rubin had been searching for “meaningful connection” for people online long before Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, started talking about prioritising “time well spent” early this year. It worries Mr Rubin that teenagers are 40 per cent less likely to hang out with their friends in person every day than the same age group just seven years go, according to the book iGen, by psychologist Jean Twenge.
“Our kids are going to have the best emoji for conversation, but they won’t know how to wink,” he says. “And that’s not the world I want.”
Read more here.
Jeremy Jones, CFA
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