`Facebook is being outsmarted by new entrants`

According to a leading media intelligence company, Facebook`s popularity could well be waning.

Dubai: Facebook`s popularity could well be waning with the entry of new social networking sites and a sharp drop in the number of its users, a leading media
intelligence company in the Middle East has said.

"According to Facebook`s data service, the social networking site lost 6 million users in the US last month, dropping from 155.2 million to 149.4 million. That is the first time numbers have dropped in more than a year in the country," Mediastow said in a statement.

"It also lost 1.52 million users in Canada, dropping to 16.6 million, an 8 per cent drop, and 100,000 each in the UK, Norway and Russia. Facebook could fade away in 10-15
years," it said.

"When it comes to the Internet, everything is cyclical. The fate of MySpace demonstrates how a strong player can quickly fade into oblivion. Looking further back, Geocities represents another similar example," said Mohamed Elzubeir, Founder and Managing Director of Mediastow.

GeoCities was originally founded in late 1994 as Beverly Hills Internet. Ten years after Yahoo bought it, the company announced that it would shut down the United States GeoCities service on October 26, 2009.

There were at least 38 million user-built pages on GeoCities before it was shut down, Elzubeir pointed.

"Currently, there is already a debate on whether Facebook is bleeding users from its launch countries in North America. While it is possible to blame seasonality or even
saturation, I believe there are other more important factors at play here," he added.

However, the total number of Facebook users was still up by 1.7 per cent thanks to its growth in countries like Mexico and Brazil where the service became popular later.

But a huge drop in the number of users have been noticed in countries where Facebook first became popular. It suggests that there is a saturation point where people begin
to burn out on the service, the company said.

According to the company, Facebook will continue to "grow" overall in numbers, because of "new countries". In other words, its growth is powered by the periphery of the
market, while its core market is waning.

Elzubeir also said that newer entrants, such as Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram amongst others are offering better subsets than what Facebook offers.

He pointed out that privacy concerns and content ownership are other issues facing Facebook.

"Privacy concerns will continue to be an issue, but I think Facebook is failing to learn from the mistakes of Geocities. Owning all your users` content is eventually going
to backfire," he added.


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