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Facebook may plateau, but the fat lady has forgotten her lines…

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
23 June 2011

Ever since Facebook arrived on the scene, people have been gunning for it to fail. I remember back in 2007 being asked by somebody from one of the major newspapers: “Facebook seems to be done for – what’s the next big thing going to be?”. It’s not just the offline media who are gunning for it either – though the Daily Mail DOES seem to have a worrying fixation with it:

Even the online press have been predicting it’s downfall for a while now – this article from Mashable, “Is Facebook’s Usage Declining?” went up in October 2007. But in the past few weeks, Facebook-bashing seems to have reached a new fervour:

Facebook may actually be declining. And we’ve got data this time.
Leaving Facebook? You can try… but ‘evil genius’ social network won’t make it easy
Facebook saturation point is reached in the US and Canada
Is The Facebook Phenomenon Slowly Coming To An End?

A long time ago, I used to do a regular blog feature on this very blog, charting the growth of Facebook across the globe – here’s the last one, if you’re interested! Anyway, I stopped posting them when it became clear that Facebook was an online juggernaut, not to be stopped any time soon – and I still believe this to be the case.

Facebook growth may well have slowed-down in a number of countries, but this was always to be expected – the UK alone now has 29 million users – only a small fraction less than the number of adults in the UK who have access to the internet (30.1 million, according to the ONS). A plateau may well have been reached, but to call this a decline is pointless and sensationalist.

As a few of the more balanced articles have pointed out, Facebook is unlikely to be toppled from it’s throne until something even bigger comes along – Facebook hold an enormous amount of my personal data (though they are making good strides in making this available for me to extract, I should point out) and it’s going to take a LOT to persuade me to transfer all this over to a new site.

I honestly thought people would have given up predicting the downfall of Facebook by now – Google seems to have generally passed this phase now, so why can’t people accept that Facebook’s dominance is pretty secure for at least another few years?

As the old saying goes, “Minor dips and geographic anomalies in usage data do not a summer make”.

At least it was something like that :)

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