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back to article Facebook hurls insults, punctuation at growth slump report

Facebook flacks are up in arms about a report that pointed to usage growth slumping in the company's more mature markets such as the US, where six million people recently switched off from the world's largest social network. Inside Facebook Gold said data it had garnered about Facebook usage showed that the Mark Zuckerberg-run …

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I discovered a long time ago...

That when spokes people or marketing types start using exclamation points in their statements they are typically over compensating for something hidden in the background.

"People have been speculating about this for years and have been wrong. Every. Single. Time!," an alarmed Facebook spokeswoman told The Register, without offering any firsthand data to back up that claim.

I canceled my FB account late last year and have not regretted it once.

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Not

Just like in programing the ! indicates an inversion in the meaning; just that marketing syntax puts it at the end.

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Bronze badge

But of course user numbers keep going up

For it's almost impossible to actually cancel an account.

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Headmaster

Really?

I did this: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=facebook+delete+account+permanently+link

Other than needing a browser, internet connection and the tiniest idea what you're doing, it all seems pretty straightforward.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Code Monkey

I did that, and get a bi-monthly "XXXX, your friends are missing you" email.

And that was my single signed-up friend who swears she doesn't.

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But does it blend?

Any know for sure this really works? Any way to verify that your data is really scrubbed?

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Silver badge

Re: "XXXX, your friends are missing you"

If FB were to include "occassionally receives a nagging email" as an active account, that really would be taking the piss.

Not that I'd rule it out as the IPO approaches and marketroids eye their bonuses.

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Childcatcher

Re: "XXXX, your friends are missing you"

1) Create a throwaway free mail address (I suggest Hotmail)

2) Set it as your contact address in Facebook

3) Remove your real address from Facebook

4) Delete your Facebook account

5) Forget the password of the throwaway mail address

THEN, you can be free, finally.

What is this icon supposed to represent? Please somebody enlighten me.

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Why even use hotmail?

Just use 10minute mail.

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Boffin

Chitty-Chitty

Bang-Bang. This nasty fella comes looking for the Children because the Queen can't stand children. They sneak away from Benny Hill's basement if you can imagine that.

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Trollface

That doesn't actually scrub your data.

But then with Google, crawlers, memory hole websites, and an army of malware scouring the internet, who can actually verify anything has been scrubbed from the net.

Time to move back to the caves.

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Pirate

not signing on versus closing account

Have I got this right? If I don't sign on to one of my "avatar" accounts for a month, that's counted as a drop in users for that month?

The fact that I have avatar accounts inflated those numbers in the first place.

(And don't bother telling me that my avatars violates their TOS. I don't give a toss about their TOS, just like they don't give a toss about my privacy.)

Anonymous obviously.

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Anonymous Coward

Ditto.

ibid

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WTF?

"More than 50 per cent of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day."

I suspect that their definition of "active users" are all those users who regularly log on, so in effect it's just a brilliant way of saying "Look! Our users who are logging on are in fact logging on!" without saying whether the number of active users is declining. I log on to face book about once a month... am I an active user?

Message to the Reg though - I wouldn't hold your breath for stats from Facebook. Chances are they don't have them and wouldn't know how to get them without another crap-ware update.

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Turnover is vanity - profit is sanity.

As title.

They may have millions of users (who may or may not be using the service) - would love to see percentage of total users who access it at least 1 time per week.

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Anonymous Coward

Check the Zynga game stats.

That'll be the bulk of the users and they logon pretty much daily. Actually more than daily. Because you pretty much have to to play their games. Which is also why I have sock puppet accounts.

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Stop

Upsurge in smartphone users perhaps?

Pardon for being the voice of reason, but it strikes me that the assorted smartphone Facebook apps don't show the ads supplied by FB.

So it is quite possible that "data extracted from our advertising tool, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads" would show a fall while ComScore might still show a rise.

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But...

Don't forget that if you're using a smartphone for facebook, it probably logs you in automatically - hence there 50% figure for users who are active.

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True...

..but if it logs me in automatically to get status updates etc then I think it is fair to call me a user.

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Anonymous Coward

even if you don't check the status updates?

Because my smart phone logs to an avatar account, not my me Facebook page. Purely an accident of this being my first smart phone, but something I'm likely to do again for the same reasons it happened this time.

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Vacuous, pointless drivel?

Could it be due to the fact that facebook has been taken over by the masses and it just isn't fun wading through all the inane chatter?

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Trollface

You don't have to read it

Just block the inane ones. Or don't friend them in the first place.

What? You have inane friends? What on earth for?

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Anonymous Coward

Growth Slump

Surely there has to be a gradual slow down in growth, is simply a function of mathematics.

For example, if the hypothetical social media system FarceBook, started off with 1 person and doubled in size the first day, this is tremendous growth but only one person.

It cant continue to show the same rate of growth for ever.

Even if they are just using raw headcounts (ie. 10 new people vs 10% growth) the numbers *have* to slow down. Anything else is a farce.

The fact the spokesdrones are saying otherwise, in their weird English, makes me thing the problem is not growth slowing, but shrinking growing.....

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Go

The world goes round.

A few years ago AIM was the "in thing" and everyone was using it.

Then MSN

Now Facebook

In a few years it will be some other fantastic thing, maybe like headcam, where you wear a forward and rear facing camera and mic, and all your friends can watch what your doing 24/7.

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Holmes

MySpace?

You know, I almost finally succumbed to the MySpace fad. And, as I told folks about three months ago. "I just signed up for Facebook. It's now officially 'uncool'."

Facebook signal:noise is nearly as bad as the late 90's Usenet.

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Gold badge

You may be right - and it may have started already

The Huffington Post reported (well, proxied as usual) a report about American Rag who now have ass-cams in their dressing room (no, honestly, I think they even trademarked this). The idea is that customers can check out their rear ends when they buy jeans so they can check if it looks reasonable (I hesitate to use the term "good" in this context).

Add that shape recognition to facial recognition, and you will get auto-twitters which report which stuff you're buying - with pics from the dress room.

And no, I'm not buying the "closed circuit" claim. Not if it's been built by anyone male 8)

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Silver badge

Really?

I tried usenet as it was dying, Facebook not nearly as bad. For one thing, they pre-planned the ads and they are all to the side and top where they are as easy to ignore as ads on El Reg.

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Much Ado About Nothing

For something which is essentially a tool for people to post what they're having for dinner*, Facebook sure does generate a lot of noise. And money, annoyingly.

* I'm not joking: one of my "friends**" does exactly that.

** In the loosest possible sense.

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Yes, what is it about people posting

what they had for dinner to Facebook? A number of mine do that.

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Deleted my account yesterday!

Fed up with the whole Facebook "experience" and finally came to the conclusion that giving away all of my personal information in order to remain in contact with people who all have my email address and phone number anyway was no longer an option.

Just have to not log in for 2 weeks and apparently they'll [pretend to] delete all my data...

Whatever happened to Diaspora? Did they just disappear down to the pub with all that venture capital?

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Pint

Diaspora

Diaspora is still around https://joindiaspora.com/. Now, off to the pub.

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FAIL

Not far off

* They released a brutally insecure first alpha version for developers to play about with

* They patched this problem in the simplest possible manner

* They went from MongoDB (The 'In' NoSQL Database) to MySQL after people pointed out that Mongo isn't the M in LAMP and would be an obstacle to setting up loads of peers/seeds/pods/whatever they are calling them.

* Their contributors agreement was met with universal derision from FOSS communities.

* They are STILL in Alpha

* All the hype has died on the vine, they missed their chance.

I gave up on them a long time ago (This coming from someone who emailed all his friends who use facebook telling them about the upcoming first diaspora release).

Icon says it all really

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Big Brother

F*** the title, and your letters and/or digits.

Im waiting for the beta. Once on, im cancelling my Facebook account

BB - because I want control of my data back; Facebook is just a necessary evil for contacting friends :)

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Clearly true then

I guess that is about as close to confirmation as we are likely to get. It could just be people getting bored or it could be a reaction to the scant regard for the privacy of members. Either way I think it is about time Facebook had a dose of reality!

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Anonymous Coward

I'd put it down to somebody in their ecosystem

not managing growth properly. The last few nights I've noticed extreme slowness loading, refreshing, and posting. Even my logins were slow. As I primarily use it for flash games, this is a real problem for me. I get about 100 different streams of pop-ups in the course of a typical session. If each of them blips up and I click, great. If I'm waiting 15 seconds for each one (and some of them have 3 phases) that means I'm more likely to give up and go watch the tv instead. If they don't get that fixed, they will lose people and probably more importantly, their revenue stream.

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FAIL

shame on you

* I'm not joking: one of my "friends**" does exactly that.

** In the loosest possible sense.

>> Shame on you - delete them!

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Anonymous Coward

Advertising = Revenue

"From time to time, we see stories about Facebook losing users in some 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,"

Surely she's saying that Facebook is raking in less than it was before? How does FB make its money? Advertising. So if their their own advertising tool say their ads are reaching less people then surely that means they will have to charge advertisers less (or lose advertisers). As such the number of actual users is irrelevant from a business POV.

Which is of course why Facebook set so much store by their number of users. They are trying to sell advertising space and the advertising industry has long concentrated on audience size.That's what those ABC circulation figures in magazines are all about. If a particular printed publication has a million readers a month it can sell it's advertising for more than another publication which only sells fifty thousand copies a month. Facebook want advertisers to know how many millions of users it supposedly has rather than the numer of people who are actually reading the adverts.

The thing with internet advertising is that advertisers find it much easier to see how effective their adverts are than they do with traditional media.

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Facepalm

Not really

All these 'I like it' button around the internet mean they can track you online even if you don't have a facebook account.

Eventually they will start serving ads outside their own sites, for all I know they may be doing it already.

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WTF?

@CraigRoberts/"giving away all my personal information"

What? I use Facebook, and I didn't give away anything personal - at least, nothing that wasnn't already in the public domain and that I don't mind being there (and you can find a hell of a lot more information about me through a simple WHOIS of one of my domains than you can on Facebook).

It's not *compulsory* to give them your phone number, date of birth, email address, or anything else - this latter is used to sign in, but it needn't be a real one, some disposable freemail thing is good enough. The only reason they might have this is that you gave it to them *voluntarily*, you moron - and complaining about it just makes you look like an the knee-jerk reactionary ignoramus that you apparently are.

Sheesh, some people are so desperate to blame the Big Evil Corporation that they'll sink to any depths of hypocracy in order to do so. Fail.

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@JasonTogneri

Wow...

Right, firstly let me explain a little... Hopefully without resorting to personal attacks, insults and assumptions - unlike your good self...

Facebook doesn't simply gather information about me, from me. When I had my FB account, it had my email address, my name and a partial date of birth. I didn't include my school, my college, place of work, address or any other such information.

However - my friends and family aren't so careful with the information they include. So, you get instances of my sister, for example, requesting that we become "family" members on the site... So, Facebook now have an albeit unconfirmed snippet of information about me that I didn't enter.

From that information, they now know that the connection between her and me is more than random, and should they wish, they can grep her account, and find where the rest of my family live... Hang on - they all live in one part of the country, I live in another... Did the whole family move? Or did I?

Now they can guess where I lived... A quick search of the usual "ex-school friends" who HAVE put which school they attended, and now they can have an educated guess at what school I did... And they can work out what year...

And if they know what year, they can calculate the year of my birth.

That's a quick example of how connections between people can be used to glean more information than is posted by an individual. It might be no more nefarious than wanting to sell adverts at me - but that's not the point. You can bet your final fiver they do data analysis along those lines.

Now - moving on from Family and my birthday - the final straw in the coffin of mixed metaphors was when they turned on the Facial Recognition and made it Opt-OUT instead of IN. I know you can turn it off, and I did - but it got me thinking again about the bullshit privacy problems they've had for the last 18 months... And then I had a typical "tech support" conversation with me old Mum who wanted to know how she can delete a photo of her that someone else put on Facebook - well, short of asking the person to delete it - you can't. You can only delete the tag.

After some careful consideration over the weekend, I decided that these points coupled with a general weariness of Facebook were too much in comparison to the benefits I gain from using the service. So I quit.

I really do hope that's ok with you.

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Headmaster

What's "hypocracy"?

Some new form of government, perhaps? Government by the underclass maybe, or by the "less than normal"?

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Silver badge

If Facebook hadn't set many default options to share with Everyone

in the last year or so, you might have a point. But, like Google with Buzz, they did.

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FAIL

And AOL had the same "cock sure" attitude at one time also.

"People have been speculating about this for years and have been wrong. Every. Single. Time!," an alarmed Facebook spokeswoman told The Register..."

And look where AOL are now.

It's only a matter of time before Farcebook withers as well.

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Childcatcher

@ratfox

It's the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, not sure about his significance though.

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Childcatcher

Tittle

According to what comes up when I hover over the pic with my mouse its "Won't someone Think of the Children!"

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Maybe they should stop and think

... instead of denying that figures are dropping, stop and consider that perhaps their ever excessive feature creep, combined with repeated attempts at forcing users to take on their latest privacy busting "improvements" without their consent or knowledge are costing them money.

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Devil

Such a pity

It's beginning to look like their IPO is running a tad late to catch the peak of the bubble. To quote the Zuckster, Hahahahahahahaha hahaha hahaha ha, bitch!

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Thumb Up

Excellent example of the Emphatic Period there.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/01/verity_stob_english_upgrade/

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.. the writing is on the friendster wall..

...it's time for another useless SNS!

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Big Brother

Decided to close my Facebook account

Not sure exactly why, but right now I seem to have decided to close my Facebook account completely... Maybe I'll change my mind, but my current plan is to write an explanation and apology when I have some time on the weekend, send it to all my real friends on Facebook and to my so-called Facebook friends, and then close the account permanently.

In short outline, it was nice to get in contact with so many people I hadn't heard from in years. However, it was not nice to have my personal information collected, exploited, and OWNED by Facebook. I'm not sure whether or not Facebook is an evil company, but I am sure that the laws of America oblige them to become evil as they grow, so the time to get out is NOW.

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