Is Facebook dying? US and Canadian users are jumping ship.

This year, “The King’s Speech” defeated the wildly popular film, “The Social Network,” chronicling Mark Zuckerberg’s path to Facebook glory. We’re sure Zuckerberg (who had nothing to do with the production of the film) took the loss in stride, but now his brainchild, Facebook, is experiencing a loss he may not be able to recover from: A loss of users.

Inside Facebook data shows that Facebook lost nearly 6 million US and 1.52 million Canadian users in May alone. The UK, Norway, and Russia also all posted loses of more than 100 million users. With Facebook reportedly planning an initial public stock offering worth more than $100 billion sometime next spring, should Zuckerberg be worried about growth?

In a June 14 post, “Slate” writer Farhad Manjoo says, “Don’t bet on it.” According to Manjoo, nothing has changed in the social networking world. Facebook hasn’t experienced any new major redesigns, and, despite intense competition from Twitter, Manjoo says Twitter still isn’t an actual Facebook threat. Manjoo also explains that Facebook’s lack of growth in the US and Canada is basic economics, meaning, Facebook has already acquired all the US and Canadian people who will use Facebook. Therefore, there’s no fish left in the pond to catch. An empty pond results in stagnant fish sales every time.

So that explains the lack of growth. But why are US and Canadian users leaving? My guess is two-fold: increasing privacy concerns and boredom.

Privacy has been a huge Facebook issue as of late. One minor oversight, and you end up like 16-year-old Thessa who accidentally organized a Facebook event of 15,000. Even looking through my Facebook friends, I notice an increasing list of people who will not  allow me to write on their walls or view their pictures. (And it’s not because I have an awful personality, I promise.)

Boredom is the second reason I believe users are leaving. Facebook has been around for eight years. It’s practically the old man of the social media sites. Some users, especially early adaptors, are looking for something fresh to dig into it. Plus Facebook lost a bit of its “cool factor” when younger users began to friend moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents.

But, at the end of the day, these points are really moot. Zuckerberg shouldn’t fret over the lost users, and he shouldn’t lose sleep over how to keep the US and Canadian users who remain. Why? Despite losses in the US and Canada, Facebook continues to see growth in developing countries like Mexico, Brazil, and India.

Plus, the majority of the fish Zuckerberg already caught (the fish writing this post included) will continue to frequent the site for years to come. (Or at least until the next big fad comes along.)


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About promotionalguru

A marketing communications professional helping other marketing professionals, business leaders and marketing students gain a better understanding of trends in advertising and public relations as well as tips for being a successful marketer.

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