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Facebook fatigue? 6 million US users log out

Six million American users have had enough and last month 100,000 British Facebook users deactivated their accounts.

Industry analysts are wondering if the almost billion-strong social networking site has jumped the shark – so to speak.

Worldwide Facebook growth has slowed for the second month in a row and it is only in the developing world that Mark Zuckerburg’s creation is showing an increase in numbers. Facebook has over 1 million users in Ireland, 30 million in the UK and 150 million in the USA.

According to a report by Inside Facebook, the social network is continuing to grow, reaching around 687 million monthly active users by the start of June. The majority of new users are late adopters and come from countries such as India, the Philippines and Indonesia, for example.

Facebook, which does not usually comment on third party statistics, questioned how the figures were calculated at a time when other measurement firms said they had seen growth over the same period.

"From time to time, we see stories about Facebook losing users in some regions. Some of these reports use data extracted from our advertising tool, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads and isn't designed to be a source for tracking the overall growth of Facebook," the firm said in a statement.

"We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are engaged with Facebook. More than 50pc of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day," it added.

However, according to Inside Facebook statistics, the site has experienced lower than normal monthly growth over April and May. Whereas over the past 12 months Facebook grew at a rate of around 20 million new active users per month, in April that number was reduced to 13.9 million, and in May it fell to 11.8 million.

The reasons for this decline in growth can be, at least in part, attributed to an decline in actual user numbers throughout North America and parts of Europe.

The most significant decrease in users occurred in the United States, where numbers fell from 155.2 million to 149.4 million, and in Canada, where users fell by 1.52 million to 16.6 million. Losses of monthly active users of over 100,000 also occurred in the UK, Norway and Russia, according to Inside Facebook.

These figures mark the first time that Facebook user numbers in the United States have fallen over the past year.

The numbers are by no means a disaster for the social networking site, which experienced growth rates of over 10pc throughout June in India, 7.6pc in Mexico and 7.1pc in Thailand.

However, users have recently criticised Facebook for the introduction of several features that some users feel infringe on their privacy. The latest of these features was the introduction of facial recognition software, which the company claimed was designed to make "tagging" people in a photo easier.

Despite concerns over privacy and the growing presence of other social networking services such as Twitter, Inside Facebook notes that the decline in user numbers could be attributed to seasonal anomalies such as college graduations, bugs in the Facebook system or simply market saturation.

Inside Facebook also state that these figures do not yet reflect a trend in users moving away from Facebook, but rather that Facebook's growth could slow should it fail to break into countries such as China