Pew: Most Facebook users take a break (Update)

Feb 05, 2013 by Barbara Ortutay
Facebook's Like Button logo displayed at the entrance of the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California on May 18, 2012. More than half of US Facebook members have taken breaks from the leading social network, with the top reason being they are just too busy, according to a study released Tuesday.

Too much drama, boredom and scads of irrelevant information are just some of the reasons Facebook users give for taking a break from the world's biggest social networking site for weeks at a time, according to a new study.

A report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found that some 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a hiatus of at least several weeks for myriad reasons, whether they were weary from an onslaught of gossip, or for the more pious, the arrival of Lent.

Yet the use of Facebook, whether constant or not, is pervasive in America.

Of the American adults who use the Internet, 67 percent are on Facebook, Pew found. That compares with 20 percent who use LinkedIn and 16 percent who are on Twitter.

But users do come and go, some temporarily, and some for good. Seven percent of Internet users said they used Facebook at one point but no longer do. By its own count, Facebook Inc. has 1.06 billion users worldwide who check in at least once a month. This includes millions of duplicate and fake accounts. More than 150 million users are in the U.S.

The largest slice of users, 20 percent, said that they were simply too busy with their own lives to follow the constant stream of status updates, George Takei quotes and baby photos.

Privacy and security concerns, which have received plenty of media coverage, were low on the list. Only 4 percent of people gave these reasons, combined with concerns about ads and spam, as their "Facebook vacation" motivation.

Lee Rainie, director of the Internet and American Life Project, said privacy is more of a big policy question that people do not concern themselves with day-by-day. Rather, people are contemplating how they spend their time and allocate their attention.

"People are making interesting calibrations and recalibrations" about how they spend their time and about the worth of constantly staying connected to friends, family and others online, Rainie said.

And while people do take Facebook breaks, Internet users are logging in more frequently than ever, the study found.

Among other interesting tidbits:

— 59 percent of Facebook users said the site is about as important to them as it was a year ago.

— 12 percent said Facebook is more important to them than it was a year ago and 28 percent said it has become less important.

— 8 percent said they took a break from Facebook because they were spending too much time using it.

— 69 percent said they plan to spend the same amount of time on Facebook in the coming year. Twenty-seven percent plan to spend less time on the site and 3 percent, more time.

Responding to the report, Facebook said that its growth and user engagement remains strong.

"As we announced last week, Facebook has grown daily active users across all regions, ending the year with more than 1 billion monthly active users, 618 million daily active users and 680 million people accessing Facebook from mobile devices," according to a company statement. "Our announcement came on the heels of independent analyst reports which concluded that Facebook is the most downloaded mobile app in the U.S., and that time spent on Facebook accounts for over 20 percent of all time spent on mobile apps in the US."

The Pew study of 1,006 U.S. adults was done in December. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

Explore further: A Closer Look: Your (online) life after death

1 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poll on Facebook users reveals unexpected results

Jun 16, 2011

Contrary to popular opinion, social network users actually do have real lives. According to a poll published on Thursday by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, Facebook users are more ...

Privacy groups ask FTC to investigate Facebook

Sep 29, 2011

(AP) -- Nine privacy groups have sent a joint letter to the Federal Trade Commission saying it should investigate the ways Facebook collects data about users' online activity after recent changes to its site.

Recommended for you

A Closer Look: Your (online) life after death

15 hours ago

Sure, you have a lot to do today—laundry, bills, dinner—but it's never too early to start planning for your digital afterlife, the fate of your numerous online accounts once you shed this mortal coil.

Web filter lifts block on gay sites

15 hours ago

A popular online safe-search filter is ending its practice of blocking links to mainstream gay and lesbian advocacy groups for users hoping to avoid obscene sites.

Protecting infrastructure with smarter CPS

22 hours ago

Security of IT networks is continually being improved to protect against malicious hackers. Yet when IT networks interface with infrastructures such as water and electric systems to provide monitoring and control capabilities, ...

Apple helps iTunes users delete free U2 album

Sep 15, 2014

Apple on Monday began helping people boot U2 off their iTunes accounts after a cacophony of complaints about not wanting the automatically downloaded free album by the Irish rock band.

Habitual Facebook users: Suckers for social media scams?

Sep 15, 2014

A new study finds that habitual use of Facebook makes individuals susceptible to social media phishing attacks by criminals, likely because they automatically respond to requests without considering how they are connected ...

User comments : 0