With social networking giant Facebook attempting to better monetize its vast user base, a report from Pew Research indicates 61 percent of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more, and a fifth of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so.
More worryingly for Facebook, just 8 percent of online adults who do not currently use Facebook are interested in becoming Facebook users in the future. When asked why they had taken a break from using the site, they mentioned a variety of reasons. The largest group (21 percent) said that their "Facebook vacation" was a result of being too busy with other demands or not having time to spend on the site.
An absence of compelling content, cited by 10 percent of those experiencing Facebook fatigue, excessive gossip or "drama" from their friends (9 percent), or concerns that they were spending too much time on the site and needed to take a break (8 percent) were also among the top reasons for taking a break from the ubiquitous social networking platform.
The report found 59 percent of Facebook users feel the social networking site is about as important to them as it was a year ago, and 53 percent of current users say the amount of time they are spending on Facebook has stayed about the same over the past year. However, 28 percent of Facebook users say the site has become less important to them than it was a year ago and 34 percent of current users say the amount of time they are spending on Facebook has decreased over the past year.
While most current users of Facebook said they expect their usage levels will stay about the same, around a quarter said they plan to cut back on their Facebook usage in 2013. Some 42 percent of users aged 18 to 29 and 34 percent of those aged 30 to 49 said that the time they spend on Facebook on a typical day has decreased over the last year; just 3 percent said they expect to spend more time on the site in the coming year.
Leading the pack of the disengaged are young adults, with some 38 percent of Facebook users aged 18 to 29 expecting to spend less time using the site in 2013, although the report notes a majority of users across age groups anticipated that their Facebook usage will remain largely stable in the year to come.