Well, maybe. There were reports on Sunday that the data which Facebook provides directly to advertisers were showing a drop in “active monthly users” of almost 6 million, over the month of May. Now, Facebook provides these numbers to advertisers with strong caveats. Facebook says the the information “provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads and isn’t designed to be a source for tracking the overall growth of Facebook.” However, they do line up with several other reputable third party indicators, as reported by Insidefacebook.com. Other indicators however, report the opposite. Of course. What is certain is that Facebook’s growth in the US has been slowing. And another Insidefacebook.com article discusses how once a country’s Facebook usage reaches about 50% of their population, growth seems to taper off.
The reasons for this are all speculation at this point. But when I heard about it I immediately thought of two people I know who recently deleted their Facebook accounts. (The one who tweeted about it humorously above I don’t know personally – he’s a web cartoonist.) I didn’t see any numbers for account deletion, only active monthly user decline, but I think they must correlate. And I think some of this is tied to an inevitable Facebook backlash by those who feel compelled to use something that they resent for whatever reason (privacy, security, wasting time, etc). Not that I think Facebook is going anywhere anytime soon. Nor do I think it’s going to go the way of Friendster or Myspace. Although I’m not sure I would wager money on that either.