Social

Facebook (Kinda) Disputes Slowdown Estimates, But Declines to Give Actual Stats

Published on June 13, 2011
by Liz Gannes

Facebook is in the news today because of estimates that its growth is slowing, driven by losses in some of its largest and oldest markets. The company wimped out on actually disputing the reported numbers, but called them into question with a statement we just received:

From time to time, we see stories about Facebook losing users in some regions. Some of these reports use data extracted from our advertising tool, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads and isn’t designed to be a source for tracking the overall growth of Facebook. We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are engaged with Facebook. More than 50% of our active users log on to Facebook on any given day.”

The measurement in question was released by Inside Facebook Gold, which takes its numbers directly from Facebook’s advertising tool. Inside Facebook said that Facebook had 149.4 million active U.S. users at the end of May, down from 155.2 million at the beginning of the month, its first such lost in the last year. I asked Inside Facebook writer Eric Eldon to clarify his company’s process, and he showed me how it uses Facebook’s ad targeting tool with the most open parameters possible for each country to get a readout of total potential reach.

Facebook’s last official active user global count was 500 million way back last July, so it’s not as though the company is actively providing the public with better metrics.

A Facebook spokesperson recommended comScore’s traffic estimates, which show light upward movement in the U.S. in recent months.

According to comScore, Facebook had a U.S. audience of 157 million in May, up from 154 million in April and 153 million in March.

In other Facebook news, CNBC reported today that the company has been entertaining bankers at its Palo Alto office to discuss filing to go public as soon as later this year at a valuation that could be more than $100 billion. Which is what has been expected for some time now.

Chart credit: comScore

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

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URL: http://allthingsd.com/20110613/facebook-kinda-disputes-slowdown-estimates-but-declines-to-give-actual-stats/