Digital News Report – As the social networking site approaches 700 million users, there may be a pothole in the road for Facebook. A report found that the growth rate of new users is beginning to slow.
Facebook still saw double-digit growth in Brazil according to the Inside Facebook blog. They are still expanding in countries that adopted Facebook late, but more research is needed to see if growth peaked in the United States.
Over the last year Facebook gained 20 million new users each month, but that changed in April and May. In April the service added 13.9 million users and in May 11.8 million users. The overall growth rate slowed to 1.7 percent.
The social networking site lost 6 million users in the United States. On May 1st there were 155.2 million users and by the end of the month the number of active users fell to 149.4 million. In Canadian the number of users dropped by 1.52 million.
Both Norway and Russia lost more than 100,000 users during that same time period.
As the company prepares for their initial public offering (IPO) expected next year, Facebook faces other problems. Research conducted by Lotame audience intelligence data indicated that the click-through rate for social networking sites is lower than other sites.
The good news is that social users engage more with advertisers, including playing videos and expanding the ad messages on the screen.
There are other issues that need to be worked out. Privacy groups have lodged complaints against Facebook. The most recent flap is over the new facial recognition software. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission concerning the new service.
“Users could not reasonably have known that Facebook would use their photos to build a biometric database in order to implement a facial recognition technology under the control of Facebook,” EPIC said in a statement.
By Tim Edwards