Millions of active users have left Facebook in the last six months – many from some of its largest markets, including the US and the UK – according to independent data.
Figures from analyst firm Social Bakers show that the decline in users has picked up pace recently, particularly over the last month.
During the last six months, the social networking giant has lost over five percent of its US user base, the equivalent of 8.6 million people. Meanwhile 6.5 percent of UK users and over four percent of Canadian users have deserted the social networking giant over the same period.
The biggest losses over the period for Facebook occurred in Japan with a drop of nearly 20 percent of its users, Nigeria with over a 26 percent drop, and South Africa with a 19 percent drop.
Nearly four percent of the US losses and nearly five per cent of the UK's have occurred in the last month. The last month has also seen a decline in Facebook users in France and Germany.
Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment on the news.
Ovum analyst Richard Edwards told V3 that there could be a multitude of factors responsible for the decline.
"It could be that users are concerned over the privacy or that simply exam season is coming around," said Edwards. "The loss could also be due to a fashion element with other social networking services, whether it be LinkedIn or Instagram, gaining traction."
Edwards also suggested that the loss of Facebook users could be because the service had reached saturation point in a number of markets.
In related news, V3 last week reported that Facebook has confirmed plans to build a massive new datacentre in rural US that will make extensive use of wind power.
Update: Although SocialBakers says on its website that the figures are the number of users in each country, the analyst firm has since said the figures are actually ad estimates so cannot be relied on.
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