back to article Facebook loses a few bitches

Facebook has suffered its first drop in monthly users, according to numbers from web analytics outfit Nielsen Online. Five per cent fewer people in the UK visited the site in January compared to the previous month. A total of 400,000 seem to have become bored with the social network and didn't bother to return. A year earlier …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh dear

    I left facebook because of their privacy policy. It's very far reaching and they can gather information about you from sources other than their website, which makes me paranoid.

    I'll get my tin foil hat on.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Emperor has no clothes !!!!

    Clients eh?

    They dot com and they dot go......

  3. Pete Slater
    IT Angle

    About time

    Never used the site, just seemed like a complete waste of time for me. I almost signed up once, but realised that social networks are just too much hard work for me. When I am not coding, I like to spend my time away from the machine. Using it as a gateway to contact my friends is not my thing. I have an email client and a mobile phone for that.

    And having been in the software industry for a good many years now and survived one large bubble bursting, I can't wait to see this new emporer fall from grace.

    It is anythibg but revolutionary and for it to continue this pretence is laughable.

  4. eddiewrenn
    Dead Vulture


    It killed itself by the ridiculous number of invites/application - I logged back in after a week away and had 40 invites to poke/join groups/become a vampire/ blah blah. It's very useful for staying in touch with odd people, and a fun gimmic for close friends, but it lives or dies by it's userbase, and as soon as the next Facebook comes along, it's dead in the water.

    As if people couldn't see this two years ago though. The founders were right to milk it's evaluation while they could, and they're welcome to die laughing with millions in the bank, but some people at Microsoft must have some egg on their faces by now.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    People are starting to wake up and smell the privacy problems. This can only be a good thing, 400,000 people can't be wrong. Ok enough, rant over.......

  6. Chris Morrison

    Dot Com Burst 2.0

    Can we coin a new el reg term.

    Think we are about to enter

    Dot Com Burst 2.0

    Can someone please blog about it!

  7. Chris Ellis
    IT Angle


    I had resisted joining facebook until last night, mainly on privacy grounds. I must admit that after using it for about 2 hours, it is painful to say the least.

    The website is poorly designed a slugish at the best of times. It is difficult to use, certainly to find people. However best of all, trying to hide ur personal info, is so complicated and irritating. I found the best solution was not to add any info.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Losing face

    Got an e-mail from a friend inviting me to be one of his 'friends' on Facebook -- 'Sorry, I don't do Facebook'.

    'All you have to do is join, then you can join the list of my friends and vote on something that's a joke'

    'It's not that I don't want to be one of your friends it's just that I don't see the point of signing up to Facebook'

    'But it's so easy'

    Aaaarrgh! I realise now that 'social networking' is no different from little huddles of kids dissing each other in the playground. That or playing Top Trumps - and not the card version, either.

    My ball, I'm getting me coat as well

  9. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    1) Facebook

    2) ????

    3) Profit

  10. Mike Ward
    Thumb Down

    Bloatware attacks!!!

    I think it's gone downhill, I tried Myspace for a short period and absolutely hated the service because of the spam and crap people had on their profiles, then saw Facebook when it was in it infancy, it was great, a good way to keep in touch with friends and there was no clutter on profiles.

    Now when I log on I too get a handful of requests to install applications that are completely pointless and no doubt harvest information for the developers!

  11. alphaxion

    I wonder

    how much of the dip is due to IT departments finally coming down on access after managers suddenly notice that no-one is doing any work and spending ages on the damn site and no longer fight the IT department, who have been wanting to ban it since day one!

  12. Solomon Grundy

    Very Simple Really

    All the "social networking" sites were fun and novel at first, but it doesn't take people very long to get bored with the whole thing. I mean the sites don't really do much of anything, and once you've established contact with your long lost friend, lover, cell mate, there's no point in using the sites to stay in contact.

    As far as making new "friends" on these sites, who really does that? You may swap a few messages with someone but will you ever really get to know them, will you ever meet them in person, will you care when they stop using the site? The answer is probably a resounding no!

    Want to meet new people? Why not try the tried-and-true ways of going to the pub, or sporting events, take up a hobby, selling drugs, or, god-forbid, talking to your co-workers.

    Death to social networking - it's a silly idea.

  13. Carl Fletcher

    Re: About time

    Got to love the number of people that say that:

    "Never used the site, just seemed like a complete waste of time for me"

    Um... then you have no right to hold an opinion? It's not a perfect site, but it's bloody useful for some things. It's going to transition from something that's overhyped into just another tool that most people use. No big deal.

  14. cor
    Thumb Up

    Not meaning to be patronising, but...

    "Five per cent fewer" :

    Wow Chris, my English teacher would be so proud of you! Kudos.

    Meanwhile I refuse to join any of these soc. net. sites.

    I am a member of an online network that is strictly for (new) business contacts, and does not pretend otherwise. Plus we can exchange professional answers to members' (IT) questions., etc.

    Interestingly, the ads there are minimal.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    Hey man, this is the Reg: Everyone has a right to an unfounded opinion based upon hearsay and conjecture, regardless of how pointless or stupid it may be!

  16. Lord Baphomet

    Carl Fletcher, you are Wrong

    CF: "It's going to transition from something that's overhyped into just another tool that most people use"

    No, it's not. It's going to fail, and be shut-down, because it's crap, I haven't signed up, because it seems like a total waste of time to me, but that doesn't mean that I don't have an opinion, in fact, I do have one, and I've just stated it. People don't have to sign up for something to know what it's like -- I don't have to sign up for the Nazi party to know that it's rather dull (to say the least).

    I've got friends who use this service, and they've shown me their profiles, and the profiles of other people they work with. I didn't have to sign up to see this. And, now that I have seen it, I know for a fact that it's a very poor site, obviously set up by 'entrepreneurs' with their usual lack of fore-site, due diligence, and quality.

    The only people regularly using this stuff are teenagers -- whey they're not out recording fights on their mobile handsets.

    Where's my violin?

  17. Nomen Publicus
    Paris Hilton

    Just like theme pubs

    All the sites like Facebook are quite similar to theme pubs. For a while they are very popular, but one day, very suddenly, they become unfashionable and everybody moves to a different theme pub.

    You don't hear much buzz about My Space any more.

  18. Geoff Mackenzie


    "Useful for keeping in touch with odd people."

    Odd people always seem to manage to keep in touch with me fine, no matter how hard I try to shake them. :)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    leaving the sinking ship

    i've just deleted my facebook and myspazz accounts today. it's been months since i logged into either for more than a couple of minutes. initially, i thought the ability to reconnect with old friends was quite interesting but as someone above said, once you've re-found each other you take it onto other channels such as phone or email.

    i'm also totally sick of having to wade through a zillion completely and utterly moronic messages every time i login to facebook, telling me that one or other of my [normally intelligent friends] has invited me to give them a virtual hug, buy them a virtual pint, play virtual zombies with them, or partake in some f**king survey about my favourite type of frying pan or join some dickwad group called 'we think ironing on a wednesday is fun!'

    what a load of crap it all is. thank god i only dabbled in the messaging side of it, never got involved in this other dross and am now pulling the plug!


    paris, coz she probably thinks myspazz and facebook are 'like really y'know freakin' awesome!'

  20. Glenn

    re: I wonder

    We've had it locked down since it became popular. A few people were pissed off, and one lady actually drove 30mins to where she lived because someone sent her a message and she had to read it. How sad is that?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: leaving the sinking ship

    Yeah, but... that just shows that Facebook and the like are only as good as your friends/acquaintances. If you've got the kind of assclowns for friends who already forward you every hoax health scare/petition request/picture of a cat with ten eyes that comes through their inbox, they're going to make your life intolerable with silly Facebook app requests.

    Personally I think this makes Facebook, if nothing else, an ideal filter to help you decide whose calls to stop returning, IN REAL LIFE.

    I don't have any blocks on my Facebook but I only rarely get the daft requests, apparently because my friends are sensible grown-ups.

  22. Stephen

    I'll get my coat.

    Well I can honestly say that when having a profile on those sites starts effecting your real life prospects (such as recruiters checking your on-line profile when you apply for a job, etc) Friends Reunited had similar horror stories about marriage breakups, employers seeing what someone had written and sacking them over it, etc. Facebook is no different in this regard.

    People are now either getting clued up to the risks or just plain getting bored with social networking. Web 2.0 bubble has burst, and the sweetest part of this now is that Microsoft is going to lose money over it as the realisation creeps in that Facebook was vastly overvalued.

    Popcorn anyone?

  23. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Simple Explanation

    They haven't left Facebook. They all were turned into vampires and zombies and are off seeking human flesh instead of updating their profiles.

  24. Alze

    At last !

    I signed up for facebook to meet friends from school.

    Despite leaving school over 19 years ago, some of them still seemed act exactly the same.

    I left facebook - what a waste of time.

    Back to irc and newsgroups for like-minded and intelligent discussion.

  25. Matt Thornton

    To all the haters...

    ... you've clearly never played Scrabulous. It's about the only reason I login to FB anymore.

    Chilly here, so I'll take coat, hat, gloves & thermal undies, please.

  26. Dave

    ...they've only got the same problem as northern rock

    why do venture capitalists keep giving money to people with crap business ideas?

    i agree completely with the people who says facebook's useless; their business plan is to get you in touch with people who you've already met, but didn't like enough to keep in contact with.

    what makes mark z(s)uckerberg think that introducing two people again is a good idea?

    hence the link with northern rock.... which idiot thought of the business plan 'let's buy sub-prime debt'. come on, the clue's in the title.

    and now we have to deal with the government bailing out a company because their business isn't viable (why?!!), and our girlfriends bookmarking Facebook on Firefox 3 Beta 3.

    come on love, the latest release candidate's only been out a few days and there's already a facebook button on my screen!

    mine's the smoking jacket lined with tin foil.

  27. dervheid
    Gates Horns

    Back to...

    the trainspotting for them then?

    Social Networking? It's called THE PUB! (or nightclub / winebar / local taxi rank, whatever your preference!!)


    as in NO (real/actual) MATES.

  28. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Back to...

    So, y'know, just out of interest, does anyone have any new insight into this whole crazy Facebook thing? Or are we just going to remind each other, lest we forget, that it is for losers with no real friends and it's all rubbish and made of poo and was always going to be an epic fail and so there?

    I mean, genuinely, I'd like to know.

  29. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    LinkedIn your next...

    Facebook gets its coat...

  30. Antti

    Privacy issues?

    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I cannot think of a single communication technology that failed due to privacy concerns.

    Sure, a small number of people will be concerned about the privacy issues on Facebook, but I would argue - as have some others here - that the biggest reason behind the fall in users... err, bitches... is that once you've established contact with your friends, there really isn't much useful to do on the site.

    There is obviously some form of need for social networking, but Facebook doesn't seem to be the final answer. Not even close.

  31. Nexox Enigma

    Random Comments

    Someone mentioned something along the lines of "Facebook is as good as your friends are" I haven't had my coffee yet so I can't be bothered to see who said that or actually quote them.

    One of the main problems (That I saw when I used FB ~2 years ago) is that loads of people out there just want to boost their all important friend count, with no regard to who is actually their friend. You end up with invitations from any number of completely random people and there is (was?) no button to ignore all invites or somesuch. I imagine that would be counter to the whole 'experience.'

    Some how lots of people got it into their heads that FB is a legitimate communication vector, like the phone or email. It isn't. On that front it doesn't provide anything that emails, calls, texts, etc lack, but people insist on it. Even though they've got your damned email address on the page. I've had a number of people actually get irritated that I didn't see their facebook messages, which indicates that they expect for them to get read frequently. Pretty much insane there.

    FB always seemed better than myspace, since it is (was?) at least decently coded with proper CSS and whatnot instead of a mess of evil javascript, but it just didn't last. I'd like to say that FB jumped the shark when they did that apps deal, which I've never used, but it seems like a final attempt to convince people that they need to keep coming back. Then I think back to when they opened it past college campuses, which just made the entire thing seem rather irrelevant. I started getting messages from my friends' mothers and random 12 year olds. But I think that the first time it really started to surpass its usefulness was when they allowed you to upload photos.

    Before the photos it was really just a glorified directory service, which arguably filled some useful void in information out there. I know multiple people ~3 years ago that managed to contact a classmate they had never met in order to obtain lost class documents at the last minute, and they wouldn't have been able to do that without FB. I even had someone invite me to be friends because we apparently had similar taste in movies. But now its all about sitting for hours on end filling up on the informational equivalent of diet soda (or news radio, not sure which imagery works best there) instead of doing productive things.

    Of potential ways to waste time, FB is so far down on the list. What happened to good old video games? If you want to avoid studying that badly, grab that Quake 2 CD and waste some time like they did in 1998. Or you could watch TV - it may not tell you the minute a friend of yours breaks up with their significant other, but people have been using it to waste time and fry brain cells for ages.

    I can't wait to see it disappear into a cloud of dust, but at the same time I don't really want to even imagine what will come along to replace it. Maybe just a rapidly flashing series of lights and breasts. That's probably just about all that could drag the attention of the average FB user away from 4000 pictures of their friends drinking and... whatever else people do in facebook pictures.

  32. Tom

    @ A.C

    1) Facebook



    That help? :)

  33. John A Blackley

    Still to come

    Amid all the self-congratulation and sneering, let's remember this: Facebook, MySpace, et al are the first (popular) generation of these applications and, despite the reduction in numbers, still have an avid user base.

    Like all first-generation things, someone somewhere (I am certain) is looking at what they do and deciding what the second generation will look like. Too fuzzy? The next gen. will have more sharply focused uses. Too annoying? The next gen. will be less-so - and so on.

    Some big investors may lose their pocket money on this generation (or, more accurately, the pocket money of those who actually put up moolah - not necessarily the 'names' who bought the products) but you can be sure that a 'new and improved' Facebook or MySpace-type app. isn't too far around the corner.

  34. Phill

    Hello I am here!

    I think I'm one of those 400,000 people

    -- It used to be a vibrant way to communicate with friends and share pictures. Now it's just pages of shit like ninja's vs. wankers or something.

  35. DR

    well I use it...

    I don't like the application requests, and I'm well aware that each time I add one I'm 'giving away' my marketing details to developers, else they wouldn't have gone through the trouble of creating them...

    and virtual hugs/flowers/presents etc are all very well, but also a bit... well shit...

    so why do I use it?

    I use it to keep in contact with friends, it's cheaper than a text message (free) and less formal than an email.

    when was the last time I emailed a friend? years ago, when was the last time I sent then a quick essage to say hello how are you on facebook, earlier today.

    so far as not contacting people,

    yes, I agree, I've got 'friends' on there that I met in school that I didn't talk to in school and don't talk to now.

    conversly, it's a nice thing to be put back in contact with friends who I still talk to in person as well as on facebook.

    also it provides a nice platform for people to update people on what's happening, (such as event invites to friends birthday parties), -like one I'm going to at the weekend.

    it has it's use, those people who left their old schol buddies because they didn't like them won't like it, those people who'd circle of friends extends little further than the walls of their office/house/local pub won't find a use for it,

    but I do find a use for it, keeping contact with some old friends who have moved too far away to see all the time, but who I do still like to talk informally to.

  36. multipharious
    IT Angle

    Collaboration Sandbox @Sarah Bee

    Is everyone aware that this is how the rising crop of teenagers and college students expect to experience the web and work together? The next logical step is in facilitating internal corporate collaboration. In other words, let it cut its teeth and go through a few iterations in the classic buzz lifecycle then weed out the fluff. Someone needs to get a 1.0 out there for internal business users to allow for more dynamic organization based on interests, connections, and skill sets. This naturally leads to organizing more compatible virtual teams and increasing revenue while allowing quicker time to market or better competitive response.

    Facebook to me is stupid, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is some value there or it would not have attracted so much attention. The annoy-a-tron threshold is simply being reached since there are not enough is not that the fad is ending as being so 2007 it's just that as people point out if one is constantly badgered by unwanted connections and exposed personal information without adequate returns the shine wears off quickly. Some competitor will come along and get it right. Besides people like finding or meeting other people.

    There is your IT angle?

  37. Johnny G

    My problem with Facebook is that

    I, quite simply, cannot be arsed.

  38. bothwell
    Paris Hilton

    Godwin's Law

    @Lord Baphomet

    I know this rule of internet arguing is very common, but surely comparing Facebook to the Nazi party at this juncture just because you think it's boring is slightly hysterical, no?

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Yay less of people's info is online!!

    well until the ID Card Database gets Owned or lost on some discs somewhere.

    Never joined, Never cared, looked pretty damn awful to use, good riddens i say!

    no way can that many user's be wrong

    waits for the next crappy site to appear

    how about ;)

    there's one the Gov should read.

  40. Sumesh

    re: Bubble 2.0

    There's already a song about it going round.

    The problem I think is there wasn't a proper recession at the popping of the last bubble. so the fools still have a lot of cash to be separated from.

  41. Paul

    It's a bit like...

    ... MMORPG's really, they release a new one, it gets a few thousand (or tens of thousands) of subscribers who play around with it for a while. A few people get avidly hooked, the rest drift in and out and eventually give up.

    What they got wrong was that they didn't think to charge for their service in the first place!

  42. StopthePropaganda

    The web2.0 king is dead!

    long live the web3.0 king!

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It's been all downhill since 1439

    What I worry about most is the impact on kids today of the printing press. Before books our kids would go outside to play and interact with each other. Now my kids just want to stay inside and read. What kind of world will it be when everyone has grown up reading rather than talking to the people around them?

    It's the begining of the end I tell you!!

  44. ratfox Silver badge

    Keeping in touch with old friends

    I did find it somewhat interesting that people I had almost forgot about asked me to be their friends on facebook. I have now the e-mail address of half my junior school class, and that would have been difficult to get otherwise.

    I guess there is also something to the idea of getting people used to organize their life using the computer. After all this time, I still know very few people who actually manage their appointments or organize meetings using outlook or similar.

    Apart from that, I get an invitation a day to compare this or that with whoever. After finding out the first time that you need to bother 20 more people to see the results, these are deleted immediately.

  45. Luke McCarthy

    The Hordes

    They should have kept it university-only. Might not have been as big a money spinner, but at least it would have maintained a higher standard and important niche. But now it's descending into MySpace hell.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    This internet addict

    belongs to about four different forums, all to do with things that interest me.

    As well as being able to share those interests, there is a fair amount of social exchange too, which even extends to meeting real people in the flesh sometimes.

    The Register and the BBC provide news information, and, although I tend to post occasionally here but not get involved in conversations (yesterdays threads are...yesterdays threads) I also enjoy the expression of opinion here at the Reg.

    There are several other sites that I keep up every day, and several blogs that I read occasionally, for fun and for information and, occasionally I get out of the house.

    I've looked at Myspace, and occasionally check on the pages of a couple of friends there, only to discover that, despite being 'media' people they haven't updated their absurdly complex, slow-to-load, multi-media pages since the last time I looked. I don't want or need it. I don;t feel any need for facebook.

    I've heard mention of this web 2.0 from time to time, and, despite a certain technical background, have never really understood what it means (but then, at one time I was a bit of a minor wizard at regular expressions, but never knew what those two words actually meant).

    It looks like Web 2.0 will have gone away by the time I get around to it!

    Another one for the coat, please, although in a tropical climate I have absolutely no need of such a thing

  47. Stewart Stevens

    Those figures may be a bit misleading

    Facebook has started emailing you the contents of messages friends write on your wall / send as messages. You don't need to log on in order to read a quick message anymore.

    I think this strategy is likely to improve its longevity.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    "business users ... dynamic organization ... interests, connections, and skill sets".

    You mean like used to happen with Compuserve and CIX?

    Or (in certain circumstances, e.g. inside DIGITAL itself) as used to happen with VAXNotes?

    Or more recently with other toys whose names I foeget (Lotus had one?).

    Virtual teams, it's the next big thing, because the old fogeys that remember it being overhyped the last couple of times round are all past it now and just waiting for what remains of their pension to evaporate, and the young whippersnappers holding the IT purse strings think this stuff is ever so new and shiny and flash.

  49. Alain Moran

    death by notifications

    the thing that prevents me from wanting to use facebook is all the blinking notfifications ... in fact, it's not even that .. its the fact that the page refreshes each time you click ignore, and that accept doesn't open in a new tab .. if it werent for these relatively minor usability fixes then the site might actually be useful.

  50. Not today thank-you

    Combinatorial explosion to imaginary.

    Web 2.0 is ok but I'm just human. There was a reason I didn't want to be on FB and those old ex mates were ex.

    If you already make friends easilly and don't need the boost up faux anonymity gives u then the whole 'folksonomy' thing is just interesting at best.

    The mini app thing of FB was interesting too but wildly too successful and hence annoying with no brakes on it. ... yep that's good 2.0. I chow on that daily and want its content to have children.

    Noone doubts Wikipedia apart from those so retentive they challenge the imaginary number for it's ability to dissapear through it's own orifice.

    So 3.0 is around the corner ... a symantic dreamboat soup? I want a place where I can walk the moors suck in data and spew out thought with direct brain control of my personal metaspace without a console ... but then I'm a geek.


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