Leaving Facebook
February 5, 2013

Quitting Facebook? Pew Poll Shows Why

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

Ever thought about spending some time away from your hundreds of friends on Facebook?

You´re not alone.

According to those lovers of data and numbers at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 61 percent of American Facebook users have said they´ve taken a break from the social networking site at one point or another. Another 20 percent said they once used Facebook in the past, but have since kicked the habit. As it is in all areas of life, trends come and go. Yet, as we´ve seen with earlier social networks, few are able to hold on to their users for very long. After all, what is Facebook other than today´s MySpace?

While there may be similarities between the aging network and today´s top dog, one element is very different -- size. Facebook now boasts over 1 billion users all over the world. According to the latest Pew Internet Group poll, a majority of American adults (67 percent) aged 16 and up, use Facebook, though a majority of these Americans don´t love it enough to stay for long.

The pollsters then asked these Americans what had caused them to leave the network. Of those Facebook leavers, 21 percent said they simply didn´t have time to maintain an online presence or read the mundane status updates all too often seen on the social network.

Another ten percent of these quitters complained about some sort of general lack of interest. Either these people just weren´t satisfied with the time they spent on the site or they found the content irrelevant.

In third place are those who mostly had problems with the people they chose to connect with on Facebook, rather than the service itself.

Nine percent of these users complained Facebook had “too much drama” flying around on the site, with other users complaining about excessive conflict, gossip and negativity.

The social giant is often the target of some severe criticism when it comes to their privacy policies and handling of their users´ data. According to the Pew numbers, however, these users likely get worked up into a frenzy about Facebook´s ever-changing privacy policies and shifty dealings, but they´ve yet to actually leave the site. According to the Pew poll, only four percent of people said they left the site due to privacy, security or spam issues. Mark Zuckerberg himself has even called out his users for having a tendency to have a bark worse than their bite. In their most recent earnings call, Zuckerberg said he and his staff were worried about upsetting users when they began showing ads in the mobile Timeline. “We found that it barely affected the level of engagement on Facebook,” Zuckerberg said during the call.

An additional eight percent of these users said they decided to take a break from the site because they were spending too much time there, clicking through photographs of meals and sandy beach vacations and looking up their long lost loves.

Smaller percentages of people (seven and six percent) said they gave up Facebook either because they simply became bored with the site or simply “because,” with no real reason given.

The Pew poll also lists some of the specific verbiage used to explain why these American adults decided to call it quits from Facebook. Some of the more interesting (and all-too-familiar) responses include:

  • “[I had] crazy friends. I did not want to be contacted.”
  • “People were [posting] what they had for dinner.”
  • “It was not getting me anywhere.”

Finally, acting as the “Yang” to the previous statement´s “Yin:”

  • “It caused problems in my [romantic] relationship.”