Facebook experiences drop in audience

The social network Facebook has suffered its first dip in audience figures since July 2006, according to data from Nielsen Online. The 5% drop, from 8.9m UK unique visitors in December to 8.5%m in January, follows 17 successive monthly increases in Facebook’s UK audience.

However, Facebook’s UK audience is still 712% higher than it was a year ago and up 9% on the last quarter. Its nearest rival network, MySpace, had the second highest amount of unique UK visitors, 5.0m, in January, down 9% year-on-year.

Alex Burmaster, European internet analyst, Nielson Online, says: “Just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, so one month of falling audiences doesn’t spell the decline of Facebook or social networking.”

Teenage social networking site Bebo, which was third in audience terms, also registered the third highest growth in UK, up 53% year-on-year to 4.1m. Piczo, a social network also aimed at teenagers, registered the second highest growth in UK audience, a 56% year-on-year rise, to 500,000.

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