Why 6 million US users abandoned Facebook in May 2011

It’s up to you how you interpret this piece of data; but nonetheless, the data points to something; something important.

According to Inside Facebook, a Facebook focusing blog, more than 5 percent of U.S. users abandoned Facebook in May 2011. If there are 120 million Facebook users in the country; then about six million people in US have stopped liking Facebook.

Six million people may sound like a lot, but considering the fact that Facebook is on track to hit 700 million users any time now; those who bid farewell to the US based social network still make for less than one percent of all users.

But still, what does this piece of data point to. The answer is: can point to many thing; With some more likely than others.

To begin with, the exodus can be nothing but a usual event, wherein a market which has attained maturity is shedding some of the bulk for no valid reason. The reason can be simply – Let’s try something else.

But the exodus may be pointing to some important lessons for Facebook as well. Like, this could be a retaliation of a section of Facebook users, who are more sensitive to changes than others, to Facebook’s handling of privacy issues.

Notably, Facebook made changes to its privacy policy many a times in 2011, without properly informing its very active users. Recently, it launched photo recognition feature, without taking any permission from its users as well. The hideous manner in which Facebook asks for user permission, is often been debated in the past few months.

Another possible reason can be Facebook’s inclination of seeing business, where ever it wants. The fact that Facebook is not averse to using a user’s social graph (likes, comments etc.) to sell products, data and services; can make a section of users too uncomfortable.

Other reasons can be people opting for demography, category specific social networks to a big generalized network like Facebook.

Out of all these, it appears to us that the privacy concerns are driving people away from the Facebook. The fact that the exodus happened in US, a mature market for Facebook; makes us believe so. --------

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