Facebook Growth Slows in May

Posted by BBC News on Jun 13th, 2011 and filed under Latest News Update, Tech News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Facebook may continue to gain customers, but the world’s biggest social network isn’t gaining all of them as quickly as it has been and is actually losing users in the U.S.

Facebook acquired 11.8 million more users last month alone, based on a study by Inside Facebook. While that’s a large amount of new users, it’s less than the 13.9 million new users who joined the site in April, or the 20 million gain during some months in the past year.

And while Inside Facebook reports that the social network is getting close to 700 million users worldwide, the quantity of U.S. users has dropped. The study found that Facebook lost 6 million U.S. users in May.

The study mentioned that Facebook had 155.2 million U.S. customers at the beginning of May but 149.4 million by the end of the month.

Other countries showed losses as well; Canada dropped by 1.52 million and the U.K. dropped by more than 100,000, but the U.S. showed the widest loss for Facebook last month.

A Facebook spokesperson, in an e-mailed statement, said Facebook is happy with its growth. “From time to time, we see testimonies about Facebook losing customers in some regions. A few of these reports use data extracted from our advertising gadget, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads and isn’t designed to be a source for tracking the overall growth of Facebook. We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are involved with Facebook. More than 50% of our active members log on to Facebook on any given day.”

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said he’s not amazed that Facebook is having a dip in growth and he doubts that Facebook executives are worried about it.

“Currently, Facebook has more than 150 million users in the U.S., which is more than half of the total population. That’s a huge number,” said Olds. “The growth rate is naturally going to tail off when penetration gets that high. We’re also going to see some ebbing and surging over time as the user base balances and matures.”

He added that it’s perhaps a simple matter of people wanting to try out the site and after that losing interest in it eventually. It’s more of a sliding away than a mass exodus.

“I don’t think this is automatically troubling for Facebook at this time,” said Olds. “Some possibly see this as a sign of doom, but I don’t… If there was clearly a strong Facebook competitor which was growing at the same time as Facebook was diminishing a bit in the U.S., it would be a different tale. But that isn’t the case.”

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