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Facebook dumped by 600,000 UK users

Here's an interesting query to pump into Graph Search when it becomes available on a social network near you: "How many of my friends left Facebook last month?"

The answer, according to a new report from Czech-based media analytics firm SocialBakers, is more than you might think.

Apparently, the numbers of Brits bored of the popular Internet service is soaring, with some 600,000 UK members thought to have turned their back on the site in December 2012 alone.

To put the figure into perspective, it's 1.86 per cent of Facebook's entire UK audience, enough people to fill Old Trafford eight times over, and roughly equivalent to twice the population of Iceland.

While festive dips in social network activity are not uncommon, the extent of the digital walkout is surely putting a damper of Facebook's recent moment in the sun, though in public the company has been quick to dismiss the statistics as unsubstantiated.

Pointing out that some reports rely on data extracted from advertising tools, Facebook said that it was not convinced that the findings were an accurate indicator of its growth.

"We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are engaged with Facebook – more than 50 per cent of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day," the Menlo Park-based firm said in a statement.

Despite the seasonal membership plunge, Facebook still enjoyed some 33 million unique UK users last month – making Britain its sixth largest global market. The US leads the pack with 169 million members, while emerging world powers Brazil and India boast 65 million and 63 million users, respectively.

Indeed, SocialBakers' figures suggest that Facebook is now used by more than 50 per cent of the UK population, or around 62 per cent of the nation's active web users.

Nevertheless, the findings have again raised the question of whether Facebook membership is nearing saturation point in major Western markets, and if its continued growth therefore hinges on the developing world.