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Why Facebook faces the MySpace graveyard in Asia

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In Indonesia – Southeast Asia’s largest economy, with a population of 265 million – Facebook is faced with an unexpected dead end. After 12 years of super-charged global growth, the tech champion with a US$414 billion market cap that began life on university campuses has become the social media of choice for “old” people.

Indeed, it appears to be losing its allure among its core demographic: the young, educated and upwardly mobile. In fact, many younger users have just stopped logging in.

The reason? It’s simple. The “kids” apparently see Facebook as clunky and outdated. Its tiresome algorithms prioritise family and friends over more interesting content.

Of course, there are still markets where Facebook remains dominant. In Myanmar, some 91 per cent of internet users frequent the site. Whether this level of penetration can be sustained as users in Yangon, Mandalay and beyond become more sophisticated is another matter.

Elsewhere, Facebook’s well-publicised problems with data security and hate speech haven’t helped, but in much of Asean, such concerns have barely registered. Users in Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur have little idea about the allegations against Sheryl Sandberg of “lean in” fame. We are so used to hypocrites that we hardly notice.

Facebook’s real problem, however, is that it’s........

© South China Morning Post