Tangible Proof of a Facebook Backlash?

By  |  Friday, July 9, 2010 at 9:35 am

The recent Facebook privacy flap has given the world’s biggest social network its most sustained run of bad press to date. Lots of folks said they were so disgruntled that they intended to opt out of Facebook, period–like the 31 percent of respondents to a survey we did here who said they’d left the service or planned to do so. But is unhappiness with Facebook impacting the service in a tangible way?

Maybe so. Over at Inside Facebook, Chris Morrison has some fascinating factoids that show new Facebook signups collapsing from 7.7 million in May–that’s more than a quarter-million new members a day–to a total of 320,800 in June, or a little over ten thousand a day. That doesn’t represent a decline in membership, of course; it’s just a decline in new memberships. But it’s a striking one.

Morrison also says that Facebook had fewer active members in the 18-44 age group in June than in May.

I’m not expert enough at analyzing Facebook trends to know if there are other logical explanations for the dips–and they don’t represent a trend unless they continue. But you gotta think that some percentage of the people who haven’t joined Facebook have opted out not because they don’t know about Facebook or haven’t gotten around to joining Facebook, but because they don’t want to belong to Facebook. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if the privacy kerfuffle caused those people to dig in their heels in mass quantities–at least for now.



11 Comments For This Post

  1. N R Says:

    I deactivated my account in April and then reactivated in June. But now I have no information/pictures etc in my profile. I only use it to keep in touch with people and to share videos etc.

  2. Roxanne Says:

    I deactivated my FB account last month and am waiting (perhaps in vain) for a decent competitor. As a Google fangirl, I'm hoping the murmurs of "Google Me" prove to be more than just rumors.

  3. ahow628 Says:

    I'm wondering if this is more a matter of hitting the saturation point. Half a billion people are on Facebook. That is a lot of people, you have to think it is going to slow down as you get less and less people who have access to computers.

  4. TJP3 Says:

    @ahow628 That's definitely something to consider. I deactivated my account last week, because I don't feel safe having Mark Zuckerburg know so much about me, because personally I think the guy is a sleaze ball. I'd much rather have the Library of Congress cataloging my tweets than having that guy trying to advertise to me.

  5. davezatz Says:

    It's summer break and kids are on vacation – hanging out IN PERSON, amazing! 😉

  6. Ed Oswald Says:

    Haha Dave! We only wish this was actually the case.

  7. evologynow Says:

    Wow, that is a pretty immense collapse. Most of the people I know are frustrated with facebook but can't actually imagine their social lives without it now. http://evologynow.wordpress.com

  8. quickbrownfox Says:

    Nationally renowned tech broadcaster Leo Laporte publicly deleted his Facebook account in June and undoubtedly convinced many listeners to do the same.

  9. Spinsbackwards Says:

    You guys should take a look at what we're doing. http://www.feedzeldab.com

    We think there's a better way, we hope you agree. If so, please spread the word.


  10. stephen hamilton Says:

    this looks interesting.

    I used to have a FB account. But let's be honest. Why do you have a FB account?
    Is it because all your friends have one and you have a huge pressure on your shoulders to create a new account for you? Do you REALLY wanted a FB account?

  11. suwat82 Says:

    I have facebook account because I want to see my old friends what they are doing and what activity will be happen. I think it's very useful to communicate with anyone you know but not see them everyday.