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Facebook users take breaks from site, says study


Two-thirds of online adults in America use Facebook, but at least 61 percent of those users have taken voluntary breaks from Facebook, a study by Pew Research Center found.



A study published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project today confirms what you might have suspected.

People are taking "Facebook vacations," voluntarily taking a break from the site for several weeks or more.

The reasons they took breaks were by turns amusing and depressing, as the comments quoted by Pew show:

"I was tired of stupid comments."

"[I had] crazy friends. I did not want to be contacted."

"Too much drama."

"I gave it up for Lent."

"People were [posting] what they had for dinner."

"I don't like their privacy policy."

The study, which was conducted in December 2012 among 1,006 American adults who use the internet, showed that 67 percent of the respondents used Facebook. Of those who did not use Facebook, 20 percent had used it in the past.

Around 61 percent of those who actively used Facebook said they had taken breaks from the site in the past, for a variety of reasons, ranging from being too busy or bored to being concerned about privacy issues on the site.

While 3 percent of Facebook users planned to spend more time on the site in 2013, around 27 percent said they planned to spend less time on the site.

Does this mean Facebook is in decline? Maybe not. 

A larger look at use of social media found that while 67 percent of online adults use Facebook, only 20 percent use LinkedIn, 16 percent use Twitter and 12 percent use Pinterest or Instagram.

Pew also found that while 47 percent of online adults used social networking sites in September 2009, that number had increased to 69 percent today. Social networking users also accessed the social network of their choice with increased frequency.

For those of you contemplating your future on Facebook, here's an infographic. The site Help for Depression posted it with this disclaimer:

This infographic does not convey the message that Facebook causes depression because there is no data to support it. Instead, it illustrates how we use Facebook to share our thoughts, feelings, and personal interests.

facebook depression

Help for Depression