Koreans ditch stodgy Facebook for Instagram

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Koreans ditch stodgy Facebook for Instagram

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Young Koreans are increasingly fed up with Facebook and are switching to the photo-centric app, Instagram, in droves.

According to local app analytics firm WiseApp on Tuesday, Koreans spent 4.2 billion minutes using the main Facebook app in May this year, a 35 percent decline from May last year. During the same period, they spent 1.5 billion minutes on Instagram, or 36 percent more time, and Twitter usage increased by 22 percent to 1.1 billion minutes.

The firm analyzed the app usage patterns of 23,000 Android phone users in the country in May.

“I used to always use Facebook, but I don’t post things there anymore,” said Bang Sol-i, a 22-year-old university student living in Seoul. “Facebook has become less personal, and it gives too much information about my friends, even about things that they ‘like’ but I don’t particularly like myself.”

Bang said that Facebook has become increasingly cumbersome to use as it’s flooded by unnecessary advertisement and information.

The fading popularity of Facebook has pushed Korean users to the company’s photo-centric app, Instagram. Instagram reveals much less information about users.

According to 25-year-old Jung So-young, who lives in Seoul, Instagram’s hashtag search feature, which groups posts that have the same hashtag, makes it easier to find information she’s interested in.

“I use Instagram a lot to find the best restaurants in a specific area, because I can simply search for relevant hashtags and it gives me a list of photos and reviews,” Jung said. “It’s often more informative on specific topics than the portal site Naver.”

According to a report from market researcher eMarketer in February, Facebook is still adding monthly users, but its growth is being driven by older people, and younger users are leaving the platform in increasing numbers.

Facebook, however, is still Korea’s dominant social networking platform. Second-place Band is also going steady and has strong popularity among users in their 40s and 50s.

The app, which is operated by Naver-owned developer Camp Mobile, is a more closed-off platform that enables users to post information only within certain groups of people.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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