600,000 UK Users are leaving Facebook

Unfriend-FacebookThe Daily Mail recently reported that about 600,000 users in the U. K. quit Facebook last December. The number, based on the data from social media research firm Social bakers, amounts to a 2.88 percent decline which is the steepest dip among the 212 countries included in the survey. The U. K. ranks as the sixth country with the most number of Facebook users, with about 33 million users and a 52.65 percent penetration rate. Growth among Facebook users around the world has been slow in recent years. There may be 800 million people who have Facebook accounts but only half of them are active users and regularly post status updates, upload photos, comment, etc.

From 2011 to 2012, increase in social media use hit 4.5 percent which is quite meager compared to the 32 percent with online gambling. The global revenue of online gambling sites like Texas Hold Em amounted to about $ 30 billion in 2011 alone. The boom is fueled by legal and technological changes in the gambling market. The traditional land based casinos are also now setting up their own online gambling sites and some even set up their own virtual office to accommodate the volume of players. Poker, one of the most lucrative sectors of online gambling, generated 5.1 USD billion worth of revenue in 2011, according to data from the H2 Gambling Capital. The 1.3 USD billion was raked in from the US market. Online gambling giant, Bwin.Party, owner of Partypoker, generated 128.4 USD million from online poker alone.

The advent of phone services, mobile banking and wireless internet are also significant factors to the steady growth of online gambling. Social media also helped online gambling expand its market. Bingo games have become available to Facebook users as applications. In a 2009 report, Peter Trinz, Senior Vice President of online bingo software developer Parlay Entertainment was quoted as saying, “The social networking phenomenon has run parallel to the development of the bingo product. Bingo is a social game and people now feel very comfortable interacting on the Internet.”

Facebook fatigue

Since Facebook was launched in 2006, several changes have already been made to its interface, privacy policy and settings. Seven years and numerous overhauls later, the team behind Facebook is back to the drawing board once again for ways to keep and possibly attract more users. In an effort to resurrect the dipping number of active Facebook users, the social network on Thursday, presented its newly revamped Facebook News Feed. The current News Feed is patterned after a newspaper which focuses more on photographs. The newly redesigned Facebook News Feed feature will also allow its users to filter friends and subjects which experts say is one of Mark Zuckerberg’s ploys to attract larger advertising deals. All the fuss about people leaving Facebook in favor of other social networking sites such as Twitter and Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook may be due to the confusing changes in Facebook’s privacy policies and the so-called “Facebook fatigue.” Since the social media behemoth took off in 2008, this disengaged attitude among users has been constantly referred to in popular culture.

A frequently cited reason is boredom. You can only do so much on Facebook, and reading what your friends had for dinner day after day is not exactly a stimulating activity. Also, more people are realizing that the so-called connection that Facebook fosters cannot compare with real offline relationships. Facebook chats can never convey the nuances that the face, gestures, actions and the voice convey. Although its impact to people’s lives how it “digitized” almost every aspect of our lives cannot be discounted, there are still moments when physical and personal interaction are far more valuable.

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