Picture Courtesy of Destiny magazine/Adam Letch Photography

Picture Courtesy of Destiny magazine/Adam Letch Photography

JOHANNESBURG – It’s been a decade since Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook. Today, with an estimated 1.2 billion global users, the site remains one of the biggest social networking platforms in the world.

But in the past year, Facebook has seen a mass exodus of users, with tens of millions of users leaving the platform.

The trend has spilled over to South Africa, where in 2013 alone, more than a million users deactivated their Facebook profiles, the majority of these in the 18 to 24 year old segment.

Experts say younger people are opting for other social media platforms, because of their up-to-date technology.

While Facebook remains the most popular social media site in SA – surpassing mobile chat site Mxit by more than 2 million users – Twitter has also gained in popularity.

Lynette Hundermark, an app specialist at Prezence Digital says “As time went on, more and more solutions were developed, there was more choice, Facebook wasn’t the only one.

“When it comes to professional networking, LinkedIn is what people would tend to use for that. And when it comes to personal social networking, there’s a lot more targeted services.

“So where Facebook offers an all-in-one, the general trend now, especially with everybody’s lifestyles, is that you want to do a specific function.”

While the once-popular social media platform still boasts nearly 9 million local users, experts say there are still signs of a steady decline.”

Hundermark says “Twitter is indeed very, very popular, the numbers are increasing. South Africa alone has 5.5 million active users.

“And Twitter has a different purpose to Facebook, in that you share a thought, or idea, or statement, in 147 characters, or less…

“And people like to share photographs, that’s quite the in-thing right now. So Instagram, is quite simple and easy for people to just share a picture.”

With new apps being developed every day, experts have begun to question the relevance of Facebook. A recent study predicted that the site would lose 80 percent of its users, by 2017.

This article was first published on eNCA.co.za. Click here for corresponding insert which aired on eNCA on the 24th of January 2014.