Facebook sees off rival social networks with consistent user figures

The latest research indicates that Facebook is maintaining strong membership figures despite the rise of rival social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

A study of 1,597 adult Internet users by the Pew Research Centre found that 71 per cent were using Facebook, the same amount as in 2013.

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In fact, 70 per cent said that they visited the site every day, up from 63 per cent in 2013.

Facebook’s popularity amongst older online users actually increased, with 56 per cent of over 65s now using the service, compared with just 45 per cent two years ago. The 30-49 year-old age group was the only one to see a decline in user figures, falling to 73 per cent.

Pew explained the consistency of Facebook’s user figures, by suggesting that instead of leaving for rival sites, individuals simply frequent more social networks than previously. For example, 52 per cent of US adults now use two or more social networks, compared with just 42 per cent in 2013. LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter all saw their membership numbers grow across the period being studied.

Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook in 2012, has demonstrated impressive growth figures in the US, particularly amongst a younger audience. 53 per cent of 18 to 29 year-olds currently use the service, making it more popular than Twitter and Pinterest, which have figures of 37 and 34 per cent respectively.

While the Pew study will be welcomed by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the research doesn’t offer the full story when it comes to social media. By focusing on adults, for example, the survey neglects the teenage audience for sites, which could have a significant impact on the results.

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Other communication services, which have a social element, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat were also excluded from the study, limiting the conclusions that can be drawn from it.