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Visits to Facebook fell in Europe – February may be even worse

According to data released yesterday by Nielsen Online, the number of unique visitors in the UK visiting Facebook fell in January. The tremendous growth of the social networking site has come to a halt, and the question is whether this is a temporary hiccup or a sign that the glory days are over.

Nielsen Online says that 8.5 million unique users in Britain spent time on Facebook in January, down from 8.9 million in December. MySpace and Bebo are also seeing declining stats.

Alex Burmaster at Nielsen Online says:
– MySpace peaked in April 2007, with 6.8 million unique users, while Bebo peaked in July with 4.6 million.

The number of unique users also fell slightly in other European countries, but Facebook is still growing in the U.S. However, the numbers for February do not look promising. Not that I trust data from Alexa to be 100% accurate, but a graph of the daily pageviews of Facebook show a dramatic drop during the first days of February, a drop that is in the 20-25% range which is very high. It will be very interesting to study Nielsen’s data for February. [Alexa graph here]

UPDATE: Facebook sees decline in the U.S. as well. According to comScore, Facebook attracted 33.9 million unique visitors in January, 2008, down 2 percent from 34.7 million in December, 2007.

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