Facebook Dips, Everyone Goes All Hooey.

In News on February 22, 2008 at 4:53 am


The knives are out for Facebook. The naysayers–often people who’ve never signed up for social networking and carp on about the uselessness of such things–are starting to harp on the fact that social networking is on the decline after Nielsen Online posted that Facebook has suffered its first fall in UK users, with a 5% drop between December and January.

This translates into a dip of some 400,000 UK users month on month, following an impressive 17 consecutive months of growth. While the Register is reporting these figures as the start of the end for Facebook, calling the slide as “very bad news for Facebook,” Alex Burmaster, European internet analyst at Nielsen Online, is asking everyone to take a chill pill.

“One month of falling audiences doesn’t spell the decline of Facebook or social networking,” said Burmaster on The Guardian. “However, most of the leading social networks are less popular in the UK than they were a year ago. It was inevitable that early growth rates couldn’t be sustained and the larger networks have been plateauing over the last few months.” To put this dip in context, The Guardian added, Facebook’s audience is still a massive 712% higher than in January 2007 and 9% bigger than at the end of October.

Following the recent news that FB has made it easier to erase your personal data (notice your friend count dropping lately?), I can see how The Register, and other analysts like Lance Ulanoff is forecasting the end of Facebook. But that’s not the case–FB clearly couldn’t sustain such a hectic growth rate, and this is just a sign that it’s taking the foot off the pedal for now and going on cruise mode.


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