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Here's Why Facebook User Decline Claims Are Not Totally True

Facebook issued a rebuttal of the claims made by InsideFacebook about a supposed decline in the number of Facebook users worldwide, and it is worth looking at the raw data first hand to find out where the truth, as a moving target, lies.

As highlighted yesterday, InsideFacebook gathers data from Facebook's own advertising tool which is an open, freely accessible service and the last update to that report, which InsideFacebook used to write its article on the 12th of June, was last updated on the 1st of June which (opens in new tab) means that it is hopelessly out of date as it was a daily snapshot of the Facebook users.

Facebook's ad system says that the estimated reach of the social network today would be 29.78m users, that is 280,000 more users than on the 1st of June, and an actual RISE on the 29.6m reported by InsideFacebook back in May 2011.

Similarly, the US shows a rise of nearly 800,000 (from 149.4m to 150.2m) while Indonesia records a rise of similar proportion, going from 37.9m to 38.4m. Ditto for Turkey, France, Mexico, Italy, Brazil and Germany all of which registered a smaller but noticeable rise.

Ultimately, InsideFacebook's analysis shows part of the truth and as they say themselves, "Bugs in the Facebook advertising tool that we draw this information from, seasonal changes like college graduations, and other short-term factors, can influence numbers month to month and obscure what’s really happening."

Facebook clearly said that the numbers shown in their advertising system point to an "estimated reach" and should therefore not be assumed to be totally accurate.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.