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It Doesn't Matter If Teens Are 'Fleeing' Facebook

Stocks in this article: FB

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sometimes the tendency toward groupthink and absence of logic in the media and on Wall Street makes me want to lock myself in a room with nothing but cheap beer and Springsteen's Nebraska album.

It's depressing to think we live in a society where thought dominoes fall bone after bone like soldiers marching in the North Korean military.

Even the otherwise excellent Forbes participates in the drill of dumbing things down to what we think is obvious about Facebook (FB) and usage among teens.

First, Forbes trots out the same headline everybody else trotted out post earnings: Facebook Admits It's Seen A Drop In Usage Among Teens.

In the spirit of full disclosure, here at TheStreet, we used a similar lede: Facebook Loses Gains As Teens Flee. However, at least we (yes, we) didn't take it upon ourselves to, beyond use of the word "flee," make mountains out of statistical molehills.

While I might take exception with the word "flee," the use of "admits" in the Forbes headline drives me insane. As if Facebook did something wrong or is doing something wrong and, sheepishly, came clean. That's how the Forbes author portrayed the shift from Mark Zuckerberg, weeks ago, saying there's nothing going on with teens to the Facebook CFO's "admission" (I did that on purpose!) that "we did see a decrease in daily users specifically among younger teens."

Even after Forbes notes that CFO David Ebersman categorized the "trend" (again, Forbes is fast and loose with the English language here ... do we really have a "trend" yet?) as "of questionable statistical significance," the article goes on to call the apparent drop among younger teens "awkward news." Of course, Forbes says "awkward news about teens" (without the qualification of younger teens), sensationalizing things further by claiming the news "marred" an otherwise fine earnings report.

This is just the type of reporting and mindlessness that makes the whole lot of us look bad. It's really awful stuff.

But, beyond that, for the sake of argument let's say Forbes is right -- there's something horribly alarming happening here -- and Facebook is wrong -- there's nothing to see here -- does it really matter?

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