Most Facebook users take long breaks from site

Posted by Kate Taylor

The number of Facebook users continues to rise - indeed, two thirds of online Americans are members. But, says  the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, most like to take regular breaks.

A telephone survey of over 1,000 people found that 61 percent of current users have at some time or other taken a break for several weeks or more. A variety of reasons were cited. More than one in five said they were simply too busy, while tem percent said they'd lost interest.

Ten percent said there wasn't enough interesting content - a boring set of friends, presumably - although nine percent complained of the opposite, citing too much gossip and drama. Eight percent said they just felt they were spending too much time on the site and needed to take a break. Only four percent cited privacy concerns.

"Interestingly enough, not a single person in our survey said that they quit or took a break from Facebook because they wanted to spend more time with other social networks," says Pew's Aaron Smith.

"At least at the moment, the profile of the typical social network user is 'Facebook + some other service(s)'. With that said, 42 percent of young adults (18-29 year olds) in our study said that they expect to spend less time on Facebook this year."

Meanwhile, one in five online adults says they've used Facebook in the past but now quit permanently, citing similar reasons.

The survey also asked about people's plans for using Facebook in future. Most - 69 percent - said they planned to spend about the same amount of time on the site during the next year. However, 27 percent said they planned to cut back, with only three percent saying they planned to spend more time on the site.