Contrary to regular speculation that Facebook users are drifting away, Pew’s survey of 1,597 adult internet users in the US found that 71% were using Facebook in 2014 – the same percentage as the previous year.
70% of Facebook’s American users said they visited the service every day, up from 63% in 2013.
Pew also noted that Facebook use grew sharply among internet users older than 65, with 45% of them using the social network in 2013, but 56% in 2014. The only age group to see Facebook penetration fall was 30-49 year-olds, from 79% in 2013 to 73% in 2014.
Pew suggested that rather than people fleeing Facebook for other social networks, the trend is more for people to use those rivals as well as Facebook. 52% of online American adults now use two or more social media services, up from 42% in 2013.
LinkedIn and Pinterest were used by 28% of people canvassed in September 2014 for the study, up from 22% and 21% respectively the previous year. Twitter grew from 18% to 23% in the same period.
Meanwhile, Facebook-owned Instagram has also been growing fast in the US according to Pew’s figures, which show 26% of adult internet users there using the photo and video-sharing app in 2014 – up from 17% in 2013.
However, that figure rose to 53% for 18-29 year-olds, making it considerably more popular for that age group than Twitter (37%), Pinterest (34%) and LinkedIn (23%), although still some way behind Facebook’s 87%.
Pew’s study does not tell the full story about social networking habits in the US, though. First, because it only focuses on adults, meaning that the apps and websites being used by teenagers are not examined.
Second, and related, the study did not include apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
In August 2014, research firm comScore estimated that Facebook Messenger had 39.2 million adult users in the US, while Snapchat had 26.5 million and Kik Messenger 17.2m. The company did not measure WhatsApp usage.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Monday 12th January 2015 14.36 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010