The ups and downs of social networks

Facebook has announced that it now has 500m active users, just six years after it was launched. The site has become the poster child of social networking on the web. While some others have seen growth, MySpace, Flickr and Bebo appear to have declined in the past year, according to these figures from Nielsen. Interesting international variations are seen, both in the amount of time Facebook users spend on the site each month and in the competing networks' popularity in different countries.

Graphic showing Facebook's size in comparison to other social networking sites

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Below is a selection of your comments

Facebook may have more users at the moment but we all know that Twitter is the future of Social Networking as it is the only true social networking site. It allows you to contact and discuss subjects with people you do not know and are highly unlikely ever to meet (and just celebrities all you nay-sayers out there). Whereas Facebook appears limited to people you either already know, in which case what is the point of chatting on Facebook to them when you can pick up the phone.

Vincent Shaw, Manchester, UK

What are the "hours spent" averaged by? Active users of Facebook in their respective countries?

Oscar, Hove

Maybe this data will stop all the lazy journalism reprinting Twitter feeds and analysing everything with regards to Twitter as if it is representative of the whole country's opinion and needs. I, for one, am fed up of every other story seeming to include something about twitter when less than 4m of the population use it, and even less will tweet.

Chris Elgar, Ely, Cambs

Really interesting to see growth in number of members on Facebook, but I'd really like to see this over laid with other metrics including aggregate activity on Facebook.. for instance, while there may be more members, are the existing members doing less (updates and photo submissions for instance) than they used to. Certainly an interesting view.

Simon Dance, London

I think what would be even more useful is to have a graph showing users as a %age of population for each country.

Evans, Newport, S Wales

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