Social networks: towards the end of a digital era?

According to a Gartner study published on 14 December 2023, the deteriorating quality of social platforms is likely to prompt 50% of American consumers to abandon or considerably limit their interactions with online media by 2050. Disinformation, toxic users, artificial intelligence… Focus on the main conclusions of the report.


Could we be seeing a reduction in the use of social networks? At least, that’s what Gartner predicts in its study, released on 14 December, which surveyed 263 American consumers between July and August 2023. 53% of those surveyed believe that the current state of social media has deteriorated compared with the previous year or over the past five years. The main causes cited were mass disinformation, toxic and anxiety-provoking user bases and the rise of robots. 7 out of 10 users said that the integration of generative artificial intelligence into social media would harm the user experience.


Robin Worrall


As a result, 50% of consumers could abandon or considerably limit their interactions with social media by 2025. While they should therefore turn away from the networks, “a significant proportion say that, compared with a few years ago, they are sharing less of their own lives and content”, points out Emily Weiss, principal researcher in Gartner’s marketing practice. From a business point of view, she is therefore encouraging marketing directors to “refocus their customer acquisition and retention strategies”. All the more so as social networks are one of the most popular communication media for reaching connected target groups and the younger generation.


Artificial intelligence: finding the right balance


In another study conducted among 305 consumers in May 2023, Gartner takes stock of artificial intelligence within social networks. 72% of the panel believe that AI-based content generators could spread false or misleading information. At a time when misinformation is being scrutinised by the public, who are anxious for transparency and truth, AI seems to be increasingly frowned upon by users. In response to this lack of trust on the part of users, 20% of brands will rely by 2027 on positioning and differentiation based on the absence of AI in their business and products.


© Sara Kurfess – Unsplash


However, AI-powered search engine optimisation could conquer new territories and provide solutions for users. According to a Gartner report, conducted among 299 consumers in August 2023, 79% of respondents plan to use AI-enhanced search in the course of this year.

Technology 3.0 therefore seems to be a double-edged sword for brands and consumers. Today’s challenge is to improve the conditions of use of social networks through innovation, while protecting users from modern abuses. Not to mention taking account of user expectations to maintain the bond of trust between stakeholders.



Featured Photo: © Becca Tapert – Unsplash

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