Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Is Facebook’s Growth Spurt Over?

Facebook has had two straight down months for active user growth, including unusual traffic drops during the month of May in markets where it has been available the longest, according to Inside Facebook Gold.

The social networking service grew only 1.7 percent in May, Inside Facebook said. While in a normal month Facebook adds 20 million active users globally, the service gained 11.8 million active users in May and 13.9 million in April.

Facebook is still growing overall, but its growth rate was dragged down by actual losses in some markets where Facebook has been around the longest, such as the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

For instance, the U.S. had 149.4 million active Facebook users at the end of May, down from 155.2 million at the beginning of the month, its first lost in the last year.

That’s not a huge loss, and not the first time Facebook growth has appeared to waver, but no loss is good for a company close to going public, and definitely not if it becomes a trend.

Inside Facebook draws its data from Facebook’s advertiser tools and analyzes selections from its premium reports on its public blog.

Facebook is still actively growing in its newer markets, and working on strategic expansion into holdout markets like China (which obviously could be a gigantic and ethically problematic traffic boost), South Korea, Japan and Russia.

But slowing growth is keeping Facebook from reaching 700 million active users per month as quickly as might have been expected. The count at the end of May was 687 million, said Inside Facebook.

We’ll add Facebook’s comment on the matter if it replies to our request.

To be clear, none of these stats count new user registrations. Rather, they’re the number of individual people, including both new and old users, who sign onto Facebook per month.

Update: The company wimped out on actually disputing the reported numbers, but called them into question in an official response.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

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