back to article Facebook hurls insults, punctuation at growth slump report

Facebook flacks are up in arms about a report that pointed to usage growth slumping in the company's more mature markets such as the US, where six million people recently switched off from the world's largest social network. Inside Facebook Gold said data it had garnered about Facebook usage showed that the Mark Zuckerberg-run …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    I discovered a long time ago...

    That when spokes people or marketing types start using exclamation points in their statements they are typically over compensating for something hidden in the background.

    "People have been speculating about this for years and have been wrong. Every. Single. Time!," an alarmed Facebook spokeswoman told The Register, without offering any firsthand data to back up that claim.

    I canceled my FB account late last year and have not regretted it once.

    1. T.a.f.T.


      Just like in programing the ! indicates an inversion in the meaning; just that marketing syntax puts it at the end.

  2. Tim Worstal

    But of course user numbers keep going up

    For it's almost impossible to actually cancel an account.

    1. Code Monkey


      I did this:

      Other than needing a browser, internet connection and the tiniest idea what you're doing, it all seems pretty straightforward.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Code Monkey

        I did that, and get a bi-monthly "XXXX, your friends are missing you" email.

        And that was my single signed-up friend who swears she doesn't.

        1. Code Monkey

          Re: "XXXX, your friends are missing you"

          If FB were to include "occassionally receives a nagging email" as an active account, that really would be taking the piss.

          Not that I'd rule it out as the IPO approaches and marketroids eye their bonuses.

          1. ratfox

            Re: "XXXX, your friends are missing you"

            1) Create a throwaway free mail address (I suggest Hotmail)

            2) Set it as your contact address in Facebook

            3) Remove your real address from Facebook

            4) Delete your Facebook account

            5) Forget the password of the throwaway mail address

            THEN, you can be free, finally.

            What is this icon supposed to represent? Please somebody enlighten me.

            1. BrownishMonstr

              Why even use hotmail?

              Just use 10minute mail.

            2. JW 1


              Bang-Bang. This nasty fella comes looking for the Children because the Queen can't stand children. They sneak away from Benny Hill's basement if you can imagine that.

            3. Anonymous Coward

              That doesn't actually scrub your data.

              But then with Google, crawlers, memory hole websites, and an army of malware scouring the internet, who can actually verify anything has been scrubbed from the net.

              Time to move back to the caves.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But does it blend?

        Any know for sure this really works? Any way to verify that your data is really scrubbed?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    not signing on versus closing account

    Have I got this right? If I don't sign on to one of my "avatar" accounts for a month, that's counted as a drop in users for that month?

    The fact that I have avatar accounts inflated those numbers in the first place.

    (And don't bother telling me that my avatars violates their TOS. I don't give a toss about their TOS, just like they don't give a toss about my privacy.)

    Anonymous obviously.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward



  4. Billa Bong

    "More than 50 per cent of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day."

    I suspect that their definition of "active users" are all those users who regularly log on, so in effect it's just a brilliant way of saying "Look! Our users who are logging on are in fact logging on!" without saying whether the number of active users is declining. I log on to face book about once a month... am I an active user?

    Message to the Reg though - I wouldn't hold your breath for stats from Facebook. Chances are they don't have them and wouldn't know how to get them without another crap-ware update.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Turnover is vanity - profit is sanity.

    As title.

    They may have millions of users (who may or may not be using the service) - would love to see percentage of total users who access it at least 1 time per week.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Check the Zynga game stats.

      That'll be the bulk of the users and they logon pretty much daily. Actually more than daily. Because you pretty much have to to play their games. Which is also why I have sock puppet accounts.

  6. GrahamS

    Upsurge in smartphone users perhaps?

    Pardon for being the voice of reason, but it strikes me that the assorted smartphone Facebook apps don't show the ads supplied by FB.

    So it is quite possible that "data extracted from our advertising tool, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads" would show a fall while ComScore might still show a rise.

    1. Andrew Baines Silver badge
      Thumb Down


      Don't forget that if you're using a smartphone for facebook, it probably logs you in automatically - hence there 50% figure for users who are active.

      1. GrahamS


        ..but if it logs me in automatically to get status updates etc then I think it is fair to call me a user.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          even if you don't check the status updates?

          Because my smart phone logs to an avatar account, not my me Facebook page. Purely an accident of this being my first smart phone, but something I'm likely to do again for the same reasons it happened this time.

  7. There's a bee in my bot net

    Vacuous, pointless drivel?

    Could it be due to the fact that facebook has been taken over by the masses and it just isn't fun wading through all the inane chatter?

    1. Code Monkey

      You don't have to read it

      Just block the inane ones. Or don't friend them in the first place.

      What? You have inane friends? What on earth for?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Growth Slump

    Surely there has to be a gradual slow down in growth, is simply a function of mathematics.

    For example, if the hypothetical social media system FarceBook, started off with 1 person and doubled in size the first day, this is tremendous growth but only one person.

    It cant continue to show the same rate of growth for ever.

    Even if they are just using raw headcounts (ie. 10 new people vs 10% growth) the numbers *have* to slow down. Anything else is a farce.

    The fact the spokesdrones are saying otherwise, in their weird English, makes me thing the problem is not growth slowing, but shrinking growing.....

  9. Nathan 13

    The world goes round.

    A few years ago AIM was the "in thing" and everyone was using it.

    Then MSN

    Now Facebook

    In a few years it will be some other fantastic thing, maybe like headcam, where you wear a forward and rear facing camera and mic, and all your friends can watch what your doing 24/7.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You know, I almost finally succumbed to the MySpace fad. And, as I told folks about three months ago. "I just signed up for Facebook. It's now officially 'uncool'."

      Facebook signal:noise is nearly as bad as the late 90's Usenet.

      1. Tom 13


        I tried usenet as it was dying, Facebook not nearly as bad. For one thing, they pre-planned the ads and they are all to the side and top where they are as easy to ignore as ads on El Reg.

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      You may be right - and it may have started already

      The Huffington Post reported (well, proxied as usual) a report about American Rag who now have ass-cams in their dressing room (no, honestly, I think they even trademarked this). The idea is that customers can check out their rear ends when they buy jeans so they can check if it looks reasonable (I hesitate to use the term "good" in this context).

      Add that shape recognition to facial recognition, and you will get auto-twitters which report which stuff you're buying - with pics from the dress room.

      And no, I'm not buying the "closed circuit" claim. Not if it's been built by anyone male 8)

  10. Bilgepipe

    Much Ado About Nothing

    For something which is essentially a tool for people to post what they're having for dinner*, Facebook sure does generate a lot of noise. And money, annoyingly.

    * I'm not joking: one of my "friends**" does exactly that.

    ** In the loosest possible sense.

    1. Tom 13

      Yes, what is it about people posting

      what they had for dinner to Facebook? A number of mine do that.

  11. CraigRoberts
    Thumb Down

    Deleted my account yesterday!

    Fed up with the whole Facebook "experience" and finally came to the conclusion that giving away all of my personal information in order to remain in contact with people who all have my email address and phone number anyway was no longer an option.

    Just have to not log in for 2 weeks and apparently they'll [pretend to] delete all my data...

    Whatever happened to Diaspora? Did they just disappear down to the pub with all that venture capital?

    1. Michael Hawkes


      Diaspora is still around Now, off to the pub.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Not far off

      * They released a brutally insecure first alpha version for developers to play about with

      * They patched this problem in the simplest possible manner

      * They went from MongoDB (The 'In' NoSQL Database) to MySQL after people pointed out that Mongo isn't the M in LAMP and would be an obstacle to setting up loads of peers/seeds/pods/whatever they are calling them.

      * Their contributors agreement was met with universal derision from FOSS communities.

      * They are STILL in Alpha

      * All the hype has died on the vine, they missed their chance.

      I gave up on them a long time ago (This coming from someone who emailed all his friends who use facebook telling them about the upcoming first diaspora release).

      Icon says it all really

      1. bean520
        Big Brother

        F*** the title, and your letters and/or digits.

        Im waiting for the beta. Once on, im cancelling my Facebook account

        BB - because I want control of my data back; Facebook is just a necessary evil for contacting friends :)

  12. James Gosling

    Clearly true then

    I guess that is about as close to confirmation as we are likely to get. It could just be people getting bored or it could be a reaction to the scant regard for the privacy of members. Either way I think it is about time Facebook had a dose of reality!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd put it down to somebody in their ecosystem

      not managing growth properly. The last few nights I've noticed extreme slowness loading, refreshing, and posting. Even my logins were slow. As I primarily use it for flash games, this is a real problem for me. I get about 100 different streams of pop-ups in the course of a typical session. If each of them blips up and I click, great. If I'm waiting 15 seconds for each one (and some of them have 3 phases) that means I'm more likely to give up and go watch the tv instead. If they don't get that fixed, they will lose people and probably more importantly, their revenue stream.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    shame on you

    * I'm not joking: one of my "friends**" does exactly that.

    ** In the loosest possible sense.

    >> Shame on you - delete them!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advertising = Revenue

    "From time to time, we see stories about Facebook losing users in some regions. Some of these reports use data extracted from our advertising tool, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads and isn't designed to be a source for tracking the overall growth of Facebook,"

    Surely she's saying that Facebook is raking in less than it was before? How does FB make its money? Advertising. So if their their own advertising tool say their ads are reaching less people then surely that means they will have to charge advertisers less (or lose advertisers). As such the number of actual users is irrelevant from a business POV.

    Which is of course why Facebook set so much store by their number of users. They are trying to sell advertising space and the advertising industry has long concentrated on audience size.That's what those ABC circulation figures in magazines are all about. If a particular printed publication has a million readers a month it can sell it's advertising for more than another publication which only sells fifty thousand copies a month. Facebook want advertisers to know how many millions of users it supposedly has rather than the numer of people who are actually reading the adverts.

    The thing with internet advertising is that advertisers find it much easier to see how effective their adverts are than they do with traditional media.

    1. fandom

      Not really

      All these 'I like it' button around the internet mean they can track you online even if you don't have a facebook account.

      Eventually they will start serving ads outside their own sites, for all I know they may be doing it already.

  15. Jason Togneri

    @CraigRoberts/"giving away all my personal information"

    What? I use Facebook, and I didn't give away anything personal - at least, nothing that wasnn't already in the public domain and that I don't mind being there (and you can find a hell of a lot more information about me through a simple WHOIS of one of my domains than you can on Facebook).

    It's not *compulsory* to give them your phone number, date of birth, email address, or anything else - this latter is used to sign in, but it needn't be a real one, some disposable freemail thing is good enough. The only reason they might have this is that you gave it to them *voluntarily*, you moron - and complaining about it just makes you look like an the knee-jerk reactionary ignoramus that you apparently are.

    Sheesh, some people are so desperate to blame the Big Evil Corporation that they'll sink to any depths of hypocracy in order to do so. Fail.

    1. CraigRoberts



      Right, firstly let me explain a little... Hopefully without resorting to personal attacks, insults and assumptions - unlike your good self...

      Facebook doesn't simply gather information about me, from me. When I had my FB account, it had my email address, my name and a partial date of birth. I didn't include my school, my college, place of work, address or any other such information.

      However - my friends and family aren't so careful with the information they include. So, you get instances of my sister, for example, requesting that we become "family" members on the site... So, Facebook now have an albeit unconfirmed snippet of information about me that I didn't enter.

      From that information, they now know that the connection between her and me is more than random, and should they wish, they can grep her account, and find where the rest of my family live... Hang on - they all live in one part of the country, I live in another... Did the whole family move? Or did I?

      Now they can guess where I lived... A quick search of the usual "ex-school friends" who HAVE put which school they attended, and now they can have an educated guess at what school I did... And they can work out what year...

      And if they know what year, they can calculate the year of my birth.

      That's a quick example of how connections between people can be used to glean more information than is posted by an individual. It might be no more nefarious than wanting to sell adverts at me - but that's not the point. You can bet your final fiver they do data analysis along those lines.

      Now - moving on from Family and my birthday - the final straw in the coffin of mixed metaphors was when they turned on the Facial Recognition and made it Opt-OUT instead of IN. I know you can turn it off, and I did - but it got me thinking again about the bullshit privacy problems they've had for the last 18 months... And then I had a typical "tech support" conversation with me old Mum who wanted to know how she can delete a photo of her that someone else put on Facebook - well, short of asking the person to delete it - you can't. You can only delete the tag.

      After some careful consideration over the weekend, I decided that these points coupled with a general weariness of Facebook were too much in comparison to the benefits I gain from using the service. So I quit.

      I really do hope that's ok with you.

    2. kissingthecarpet

      What's "hypocracy"?

      Some new form of government, perhaps? Government by the underclass maybe, or by the "less than normal"?

    3. Tom 13

      If Facebook hadn't set many default options to share with Everyone

      in the last year or so, you might have a point. But, like Google with Buzz, they did.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    And AOL had the same "cock sure" attitude at one time also.

    "People have been speculating about this for years and have been wrong. Every. Single. Time!," an alarmed Facebook spokeswoman told The Register..."

    And look where AOL are now.

    It's only a matter of time before Farcebook withers as well.

  17. bob's hamster


    It's the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, not sure about his significance though.

    1. TimeMaster T


      According to what comes up when I hover over the pic with my mouse its "Won't someone Think of the Children!"

  18. Paul 87

    Maybe they should stop and think

    ... instead of denying that figures are dropping, stop and consider that perhaps their ever excessive feature creep, combined with repeated attempts at forcing users to take on their latest privacy busting "improvements" without their consent or knowledge are costing them money.

  19. Eddy Ito

    Such a pity

    It's beginning to look like their IPO is running a tad late to catch the peak of the bubble. To quote the Zuckster, Hahahahahahahaha hahaha hahaha ha, bitch!

  20. Martin
    Thumb Up

    Excellent example of the Emphatic Period there.

  21. json

    .. the writing is on the friendster wall..'s time for another useless SNS!

  22. Shannon Jacobs
    Big Brother

    Decided to close my Facebook account

    Not sure exactly why, but right now I seem to have decided to close my Facebook account completely... Maybe I'll change my mind, but my current plan is to write an explanation and apology when I have some time on the weekend, send it to all my real friends on Facebook and to my so-called Facebook friends, and then close the account permanently.

    In short outline, it was nice to get in contact with so many people I hadn't heard from in years. However, it was not nice to have my personal information collected, exploited, and OWNED by Facebook. I'm not sure whether or not Facebook is an evil company, but I am sure that the laws of America oblige them to become evil as they grow, so the time to get out is NOW.

  23. Andy Goss

    Inactive users

    I have a couple of "real world" friends who are also on Facebook, but are inactive, they have no use for it. I find it cumbersome to use, all I want to do is go to the page of one of my very short list of Facebook "friends", but there seems to be no straightforward way of doing so. I would have thought a simple link to a list of friends would be an obvious function, but no, that would be too easy.

    The Facebook mission appears to be to cozen people into forming huge networks of meaningless relationships and exposing whatever information they have uploaded to anyone who wants it.

    I don't get the point. World domination? Or perhaps the whole thing is the creation of somebody so terminally insecure that they want to reduce the whole of humanity to their own level of futility. And no I have not seen the film.

  24. Jim 59

    News feed

    What put me off FB was the introduction of the "news feed", a large pane occupying centre-screen, which you cannot turn off, that barks at you every time a friend-of-a-friend does anything. There was a FB revolt at the time, but the company got its way and the enforced "feature" stayed.

  25. Stevie


    Every time I'm tempted to join the TwitFace generation I get a dose of "why bother".

    Most recently delivered courtesy of my Sister-in-Law who "unfriended my mother-in-law (thus denying her pictures of her grandchildren) because, and I all-but-quote, the M-i-L had been saying nice things about her on facebook but was less than cordial to her face.

    I'll read that again: She got upset by the fact that someone says nicer things about her on the internet than in person. You can't make this sort of stuff up.

    The *relevant* thing here is that Arsebook is mostly just another way to bully people from where I sit. It's inception was born out of exclusionary thinking. The fact that the thing outgrew the club it was intended for doesn't change the underlying clique-centricity of the idea.

    So I've effectively defriended every single person on Arsebook by not getting involved with it in the first place.

    C'mon in. The irony is wonderful.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like