Facebook: Loosing Momentum?

Figures are been published which state that in May Facebook lost 6 million users within the U.S. in addition to 100,000 in the U.K.

Despite the social network not usually commenting on third party statistics, this time they felt the need to pipe up:

“From time to time we see stories about Facebook losing users in certain regions. Some of these reports use data extracted from our advertising tool, 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,” the firm said in a statement.

However figures have been extracted form inside Facebook stating that in Canada alone 1.5 million were lost in May. Other than that Facebook is reporting overall growth, reaching to a total of 687 million users worldwide.

Are such dents showing signs of weakness in the giant which is Facebook though? Are people reaching what has widely become known as ‘Facebook fatigue.’ This refers to the recognition of spending far too much time trawling through random photos or commenting on friend’s statuses, gradually eroding your attention span. Perhaps people will start to re-focus their lives on the physical world.

It is important to recognise the advantages of Facebook however such as keeping friends united in different corners of the world and making it easier to get in touch with people not seen for some time. But the speed at which Facebook came into being does provoke the thought of how quick it could fade away, or be replaced.

You only have to look at the graveyard of social networking sites to observe this.
MySpace for instance which is now not profitable and which Rupert Murdoch is struggling to shed from his News Corp empire. Bebo which was once the No. 1 social network is haemorrhaging users at a unforgivable rate. Friendster was the network to be part of when Zuckerberg was at university.

The main issue is that people move with the social trends and will quickly de-activate their account if their friends move to another service. You have to give Zuckerberg credit however for creating something which is unique and it will be interesting to see how he avoids the trends of his predecessors.

Twitter is an emerging rival challenging Facebook. This is especially apparent now that Apple have opted to integrate Twitter into the heart of it’s iPhone and iPad software, allowing consumers to Tweet pictures and links at the touch of a button.

The real growth potential for Facebook now lies in developing countries such as India and China and it is no coincidence that Zuckerberg has taken up Mandarin. If he cracked this market his user stats could double. In any case it will be interesting to follow Facebook’s strategy going forward.

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