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Is Facebook losing friends?

14 Jun 2011 12:27 BST Back
Is Facebook losing friends?

Also in the news

Facebook has seen a drop in the number of UK users for the second month running, according to data from tracking company Inside Facebook.

With 687 million users worldwide, it’s still the leading social media platform but some regions such as the UK, US and Canada are experiencing a drop in users.

Whereas in the past 12 months Facebook accounts grew by an average of 20 million a month, growth slowed to 13.9 million accounts in April and 11.8 million in May.

This slowdown could stop Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from hitting his target of one billion users worldwide.

One reason for this drop-off could be the site’s approach to privacy, the most recent revelation being the site’s use of an automatic facial recognition system for tagging photos. This was restricted to the US but Facebook has now extended this to other countries without asking people to opt in.

The drop is most marked in the US, where numbers fell from 155.2 million to 149.4 million, and in Canada which saw a fall from 1.52 million to 16.6 million. In the UK, there was a fall of 100,000 to 29.8 million, which is still over half of the people online.

However, Facebook is experiencing growth rates of over 10 per cent in some parts of the world, including India, Thailand, Mexico and Brazil.

The site has been banned in China since 2008 but after Zuckerberg’s visit to China in December 2010, there was speculation that the Government would approve it. With 420 million internet users, China represents a huge potential market for the social media giant and could help Zuckerberg hit his one billion target.

Posted by Neil Turner

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