Why Are Gen Z Turning Their Back On Facebook and Instagram?

Amid a new era of online authenticity, BeReal and TikTok become the social media apps taking Gen Z by storm 

Since its inception almost two decades ago, 2022 paints a very different picture of the social media landscape. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, which have come under fire for the pressure to present our most perfect selves, apps such as TikTok and BeReal have been launched to share unvarnished glimpses into our everyday life.

Despite being founded in 2020, BeReal’s growth has accelerated in recent months, with the number of times it was installed increasing by 86% month-over-month – according to Sensor Tower.

Particularly amongst Gen Z – who have a strong focus on quality and authenticity online, with data by value exchange platform Room Unlocked unveiling that close to half (47%) of young adults say they cannot relate to or identify with any influencers because of how disingenuous they are – the pursuit for online authenticity is dramatically reshaping the internet and the way we consume social media.As users, we have outgrown the culture of perfectionism associated with mainstream social media platforms, giving rise to apps which champion genuine and unfiltered content. Exploring the relationship between influencers and their younger followers, Room Unlocked revealed the days of mega-influencers promoting ‘Insta-perfect’ lifestyles and products for quick-cash are fading, with 52% of Gen Z saying the cash-rich lifestyles of influencers amidst the cost-of-living crisis infuriates them.

Being polled as one of the most philanthropic generations, it comes to no surprise that close to half (48%) say they follow influencers on the basis of shared beliefs and value with them. The growing popularity of genuine voices in the space such as Stacey Solomon, Mrs Hinch and Alex George and their engaged community of followers, only serve as testament that social media users are valuing un-filtered posts and real conversation over curated feeds and unrelatable lifestyles. CEO and founder of Room Unlocked, Alex Payne, argues that by eliminating currency out of the equation, and instead focusing on ‘value exchange’, the relationship between brands and their ambassadors is only driven by advocacy and passion. With Room Unlocked’s value exchange approach, influencers seek out the products/services they genuinely want to promote, solely in exchange for receiving them – not for money.  Alex Payne CEO and co-founder of Room Unlocked, comments:TikTok overtook instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to become the most downloaded app in 2021 – now over 3 billion downloads and counting. BeReal is another platform on an impressive growth journey – in April 2022, it had been downloaded 7.7m times. By the end of October 2022, that is up to 53m with a 29200% increase in users over the same timeframe.“The clue to this rapid scale is in the name – the app is simply about encouraging users to ‘Be Real’ once a day, TikTok’s growth can also be put down to Gen Z’s move towards authenticity over ‘influence’. No longer are the younger generation prepared to buy into filters, photoshop and editing.“We have all seen the stats around Gen Z – socially, environmentally and ethically more conscious than any generation before them. This couples with the authenticity and reality we’re now seeing in the content they produce and the platforms they use. Brands are having to go with them, and to be comfortable placing themselves in the stories influencers tell, rather than paying influencers to tell their story.”