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Social network burnout affecting six in ten Facebook users

06 Feb 2013
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Overexposure and disinterest are causing many users to take extended 'vacations' from social networking platforms, according to experts.

Researchers from the Pew Internet and American Life Project have found that some 61 percent of Facebook users report having voluntarily taken a break of several weeks or more from the service in recent years.

Additionally, the study found that 20 percent of users surveyed acknowledged using Facebook in the past but are no longer on the service.

A lack of interest was most often cited by users for taking a break: 21 percent of users said that they had taken hiatus because other personal and work interests were taking up their time. Another 10 percent of those surveyed cited a lack of interest in Facebook itself, and a further 10 percent said that content on the site was not compelling.

Concern about 'drama' from friends and connections drove nine percent of users from Facebook, while another eight percent had to take time off due to concerns about spending too much time on the social networking site.

The researchers noted that while more users may be opting to take breaks from Facebook and other social networking platforms, traffic levels are not being driven down as a result.

"Even as many Facebook users adjust their time allocations on the site for the reasons listed above, the vast majority of social networking site users — 92 percent of them, based on our most recent findings — maintain a profile on Facebook," the researchers noted.

"And other Pew Internet survey findings illustrate the continued importance of social networking sites more generally to online life."

The use of social networking platforms has for years been a concern for businesses, both from a worker productivity and a security angle.

A recent V3 survey found that 41 percent of surveyed businesses are anxious about possible legal liabilities from employee social media activity.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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