Kiwis keep with Facebook as Brits log off

Last updated 14:40 16/01/2013

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Kiwis took to Facebook with gusto during the holidays - the reverse of a trend in Britain that was interpreted as meaning the social-networking site could have hit its limit.

The website lost about 600,000 users in Britain last month, when 1.86 per cent of Facebook's 33 million British users did not log on. The figures suggest many users are beginning to lose interest. Research group data also suggest the site's growth in Britain is levelling off.

Analysts have previously suggested the social network is reaching saturation point in Europe and the United States, and may find it hard to persuade many more people in those regions to join. However, some of the fall could be put down to an expected dip during Christmas, as people logged off for the break only to switch on again in January.

The opposite has happened in New Zealand, where more than half the population is on Facebook.

More than 110,000 new users have joined in the past six months. Usage grew at Christmastime, before falling off this week as people returned to work, data from social-media monitoring firm Socialbakers shows.

Facebook executives are believed to dispute the British figures, with internal numbers suggesting more gains in Britain.

Last year internet analyst Rory Maher said Facebook user numbers had declined or stayed the same in 14 countries.

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- Fairfax Media

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