5 possible reasons U.S. users are ditching Facebook

Why are users ditching Facebook? Here are some possible reasons.

Have we finally grown tired of Facebook? According to Inside Facebook, more than five per cent of U.S. users abandoned Facebook in May -- that's about six million people who have stopped "liking" the world's largest social network. Six million people jumping ship sounds like a lot, but when you consider that Facebook is on track to hit 700 million users any day now, it's not such a big deal.

But it raises the question: why are U.S. users ditching Facebook? Here's a look at 5 possible explanations for May 2011's Great Facebook Exodus.

#1 - Nobody's Leaving -- The Data is Wrong

If you ask Facebook, this is one of those instances in which there's smoke, but no fire. A Facebook rep says that reports such as Inside Facebook's "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."

So Inside Facebook ran another series of tests using third-party measurement services like comScore, Compete, Quantcast and Google Ad Planner, and that data is totally schizophrenic. Some show fast gains, others show slow gains, others report losses, and oddly, Sony's ranking system shows Pop Tart Cat. (Just kidding.)

#2 - The Privacy Issues Keep Getting Worse

Where to start with Facebook's ridiculous string of privacy problems? How about the latest: the opt-out facial recognition software that identifies and tags Facebook users in photos without permission or forewarning. Facebook apologized -- but not for the software. No, it apologized for the software's rocky launch. Now privacy advocates are asking the U.S. Federal Government to stop Facebook from using this facial recognition technology.

To put this in perspective, Google's Eric Schmidt says that facial recognition software is too creepy. When Google thinks something too creepy, you know it's way, way too creepy.

Until Facebook users realize that Facebook is a free service that you can cancel at any time and that it therefore owes you nothing in terms of privacy and security, this won't be the last time the site will make headlines for crossing the creepy line.

#3 - Facebook has Become too Much of a Business

Facebook used to be about fun, and stuff. It's not that fun anymore.

Lately, when the headlines aren't railing against Facebook's privacy fouls, the media has been reporting on the company's financial concerns and its reported $100 billion valuation. Bor-ing!

Perhaps the Facebook's evolution from startup to unavoidable monstrosity has driven Millennials -- a generation typically in favor of entrepreneurialism -- into "distrust mode," thereby signaling a widespread call to ditch Rich Uncle Pennybags' once-fun site and move onto other social networking services...which bring us to...

#4 - Facebook is too General; We Want Specified Social Networks

The generalized nature of Facebook is great for those who dig ... stuff. But our social Web culture is turning to apps, and services such as Instagram for photos, Foodspotting for foodies, GetGlue for multimedia, Soundtracking for music, etc., are catering to those who want a niche. Sure, these apps are compatible with Facebook news feeds for added sharing capabilities, but they're also building their own, specified, social networks.

#5 - We're Returning to MySpace

I'm sorry -- that's comically absurd, but I had to say it.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicessocial mediainternetFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?