Fluidity In Facebook Population

New findings from the Pew Research Center indicate there is considerable fluidity in the Facebook user population. Though 67% of online American adults are Facebook users, 61% of them say that they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more. 20% of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so.

21% said that their “Facebook vacation” was a result of being too busy with other demands or not having time to spend on the site. Others pointed toward a general lack of interest in the site itself, or concerns that they were spending too much time on the site and needed to take a break.

Reasons For Facebook Breaks (Voluntary Multi-Week Break From Site)


% of Respondents

Too busy; no time


Not interested; didn’t like


Waste of time; content not relevant


Too much drama; gossip; negativity; conflict


Spending too much time using


Infrequent user


Vacation; trip; deployment


Bored with it


No real reason


Privacy concerns; security; ads; spam


Source: Pew Research, February 2013

20% of online adults who used Facebook in the past no longer do so because (I their words)... “It’s a gossipy thing.” … “I didn’t like to talk too much.” … “I’m not social.” … “My account was compromised.” …  “I got tired of minding everybody else’s business.” …  “Not enough privacy.” … “Got too many communications.” … “Takes my time away.”

Although many Facebook users adjust their time allocations on the site, 92% of them maintain a profile on Facebook, and other Pew Internet survey findings illustrate the continued importance of social networking sites:

  • Today 69% of online adults, representing more than half of the entire adult population in the United States, use an online social network of some kind. On a typical day nearly half of all adult internet users access a social networking site
  • In a separate 2012 survey, 41% of social networking site users said that they access these sites several times a day, a statistically significant increase from the 33% of users who said that they accessed social networking sites with that level of frequency in August 2011

59% of users say the site is as important now as it was a year ago and 53% say they use the site as much now as they did a year ago. However, notable numbers point to a decreasing value and a decline in usage over the past year.

  • 28% of Facebook users say the site has become less important to them than it was a year ago.  And 34% of current users say the amount of time they are spending on Facebook has decreased over the past year
  • 12% of Facebook users say the social networking site has become more important to them than it was a year ago. And 13% of current users say the amount of time they are spending on Facebook has increased over the past year

Women are more likely than men to report increased importance and greater time spent on the site, while 42% of Facebook users ages 18-29 and 34% of those ages 30-49 say that the time they spend on Facebook on a typical day has decreased over the last year.

Value of Facebook (% Users Saying More Important, Spending More Time)


% of Men

% of Women

More important



Spending more time



Source: Pew Research, February 2013

Most current users of Facebook say they expect their usage levels will stay about the same for the coming year. But around one in four say they plan to cut back on their Facebook usage in 2013:

  • 3% of Facebook users say they plan to spend more time on the site in the coming year.
  • 27% of Facebook users say they plan to spend less time on the site in the coming year.
  • 69% of Facebook users say they plan to spend the same amount of time on the site this coming year.

Finally, the report concludes that young adults are the most likely forecasters of decreased engagement. 38% of Facebook users ages 18-29 expect to spend less time using the site in 2013, although a majority of users across age groups anticipate that their Facebook usage will remain largely stable in the year to come.

Plans for Use of Facebook (% of Users Anticipating Time Spent in Next Year)

Age group

More Time

Less Time

Same as Now













Source: Pew Research, February 2013

For more information from Pew Research, please visit here.

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