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02/04/2013

Youth leaving Facebook in droves, for mobile messaging apps.

Facebook is hinged on creating personal profiles, building networks of friends and sharing photos, videos and music. However, hundreds of millions of tech-savvy young people have instead turned to a wave of smartphone-based messaging apps that are now sweeping across much of the developed and the developing world.

The hot apps include Kik, Whatsapp, KakaoTalk, LINE, and WeChat.
Combining elements of text messaging and social networking, the apps provide a quick-fire way for smartphone users to trade everything from brief texts to flirtatious pictures to YouTube clips -bypassing both the SMS plans offered by wireless carriers and established social networks originally designed as websites.

Facebook, with 1 billion users, remains by far the world's most popular website, and its stepped-up focus on
mobile has made it the most-used smartphone app as well. Still, industry insiders say there is a possibility that the messaging apps could threaten Facebook's dominance over the next few years. The larger ones are even starting to emerge as full-blown "platforms" that can support third-party applications such as games.
To be sure, many of those who are using the new messaging apps remain on Facebook, indicating there is little immediate sign of the giant social media company losing its lock on the market.

Analysts say that "True interactions are conversational in nature." "More people text and make phone calls than get on to social networks. If one company dominates the replacement of that traffic, then by definition that's very big."

Facebook's big challenge is reeling back users like Jacob Robinson, a 15-year old high school student in Newcastle upon Tyne in the U.K., who said the Kik messaging app "blew up" among his friends about six months ago. It has remained the most-used app on his Android phone because it is the easiest way for him to send different kinds of multimedia for free, which he estimated he does about 200 times a day.
Robinson said he trades snapshots of his homework with friends while they stay up late studying for their exams -or not.

"We also stay up in bed with our phone all night, just on YouTube searching for funny videos, then you quickly share it with your friends," he added. "It's easy. You can flip in and out of Kik."
Facebook "has really started to lose its edge over here," said Robinson, who found his interactions on Facebook less interesting than his real-time chats.

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