Users logging off from Facebook for weeks

Feb. 6: Almost two thirds of Facebook users have taken a break of several weeks from the social networking site, research has shown.

Despite a large number taking a "Facebook holiday", the site shows no signs of losing its popularity.

The survey, carried out in the US by the Pew Research Center, found that 67 per cent of online American adults are Facebook users.

The percentage of online adults using some kind of social networking site was 69 per cent ' up from 47 per cent in September 2009 ' making Facebook by far the most popular site. This means that more than half of the entire adult population in America now uses a social networking site. Of those taking time out from Facebook, only 4 per cent cited privacy concerns as their reason for doing so.

An even smaller number (2 per cent) said they logged off because they preferred face-to-face contact to socialising online. The most common reason given for taking a break was that they were just too busy, with 20 per cent saying they did not have the time to log on.

Ten per cent said just didn't like it, and another 10 per cent said they thought it was a waste of time.

Most, but not all, return to the site. Twenty per cent of online adults that do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do.

There are signs that the site may be losing some of its appeal. Just under a third (28 per cent) of users say Facebook is less important to them than it was a year ago, and just over a third (34 per cent) say they spend less time on it than they did a year ago.

Among 18 to 29-year-olds, 42 per cent said the amount of time they spend on the site in a typical day has decreased in the last 12 months.

The survey was conducted in December and based on a sample of 1,006 American adults aged 18 and over. The Pew Research Center is a non-partisan think tank based in Washington.

Facebook is set to release a new mobile app which allows a user's location to be tracked even when the phone isn't being used.

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