There seems to be a lot of ambivalence on the status of Facebook. Different analysts have shown different sides to the same story. However, data from UKOM/Nielsen has revealed that Facebook has overtaken Microsoft in the U.K.
Recent reports from Inside Facebook had projected that the Facebook graph is on a downward slide, following a substantial loss in the number of users in the United States, U.K. and several other countries, between the months of May and June 2011.
In partial contrast to this, the study by UKOM/Nielsen has found that irrespective of actual user numbers, visits to Facebook have increased and the popular social network has overtaken Microsoft in the U.K. for the first time ever, in the month of May. Facebook is now the second most popular site in the U.K.
According to this report, Facebook had 26.8 million visitors from the U.K. in May 2011, compared to 26.2 million visitors to the various sites on the Microsoft network in the same month.
While visits to Facebook increased slightly from 26.5 million, visits to Microsoft fell from 30 million in April 2011. In some ways, one could argue that Facebook doesn’t seem to have grown more popular, but instead Microsoft has lost popularity.
The same report also shows that the number of visits to Twitter in the U.K. has also gone up significantly during the same time period. The number of users for Twitter went up significantly following the episode about the super injunction pertaining to footballer Ryan Giggs.
Analysts at Nielsen indicate that the growth of users on both Facebook and Twitter is largely due to the growth of the number of users over 50 years of age taking an interest in these social networks.
While the interest by the over-50 population could be a good thing for advertisers, if the youngsters who have so far been the main users of these social networks decide to stay away from them because of the invasion by the elders, it could eventually have disastrous consequences for both sites.