Social Networking Dominates Web Use, Study Shows

US internet users are spending an increasing amount of time on social networks and games, a recent report by research firm Nielsen reveals.

Nielsen revealed that US users currently spend 23 per cent of their online time using social networking platforms, up from 16 per cent the previous year. The company credits the rise to the increasing popularity of Facebook.

The research firm found that people spend 10 per cent of their time playing online games, which have overtaken e-mail as the second most popular online activity.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the study highlights changes in internet browsing habits, with a greater number of people finding information from social networks, rather than from portals such as Yahoo.

Nielsen analyst Dave Martin said: You can start your daily online experience on Facebook and perform many essential communications functions. In the past, you might have to log into Yahoo Mail and then log into MSN Messenger and then maybe check the Yahoo home page for new, breaking news."

The research also revealed that Facebook's audience is getting older, with the number of people over the age of 50 that check their profile on a daily basis being twice the number of under 18s accessing the platform.