According to Alexa, a data analysis company owned by Amazon, Reddit has surpassed Facebook in the United States. Reddit is a fundamentally different form of social media than Facebook in that it is almost entirely pseudonymous, rarely do users have any knowledge of the identity of the individuals with whom they interact. This stands in stark contrast to Facebook, in which the identity of its users is entirely transparent.
The increased prevalence of Reddit within the United States may indicate a shift in preference to a more private online experience. This shift could be a result of the recent privacy scandals that have embroiled Facebook. Worldwide however, Facebook has a significantly more broad user base, especially in developing countries. Nevertheless it is significant that, at least in the United States, Facebook is losing ground to a more anonymous alternative.
Reddit, of course, cannot replace Facebook. Reddit is more similar to a forum than a traditional social media platform, seeking to unite users of similar interests rather than users who know one another personally. The community focus of Reddit as opposed to the personal focus of Facebook means that Reddit cannot act as a substitute for Facebook’s ability to connect friends and family digitally.
Nevertheless, Reddit and Facebook do share enough similarities to act as competitors. Both sites are used for sharing news and images and both act as venues for discussion on these topics. Therefore the rise of Reddit can be seen as drawing users away from Facebook. However, the impersonal nature of Reddit to a degree ensures that it cannot entirely supplant Facebook. At best, Reddit could eventually relegate Facebook to being exclusively the destination for personal connections while news and entertainment are derived from Reddit. Whether this trend continues globally remains to be seen.