Though there’s some reason to be cautious, initial reports suggest that Facebook is on track to shed huge numbers of users this year. As The Huffington Post explains, “according to the social media analytics firm cited in the story, the statistics are merely ‘rough estimates'” — “not primarily intended for journalists, but rather [as] ad estimates for marketers.” Nevertheless, the figures, revealed by The Guardian, are too striking to brush aside: In the last month, the world’s largest social network has lost 6m US visitors, a 4% fall, according to analysis firm SocialBakers. In the UK, 1.4m fewer users checked in last month, a fall of 4.5%. The declines are sustained. In the last six months, Facebook has lost nearly 9m monthly visitors in the US and 2m in the UK. So what gives? “The problem is that, in the US and UK, most people who want to sign up for Facebook have already done it,” said new media specialist Ian Maude at Enders Analysis. “There is a boredom factor where people like to try something new. Is Facebook going to go the way of Myspace? The risk is relatively small, but that is not to say it isn’t there.” Actually, the more intriguing possibility is that Facebook doesn’t need to worry about peaking, much in the same way that, say, Pepsi doesn’t need to worry much about coming in #2 to Coke. At a certain size, locked into a large enough market share, even great tides of user gain and loss can matter relatively little.
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