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As Facebook dips in the US, will the Graph initiative make a difference?

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 15, 2013 | 3 min read

Maybe Facebook’s Graph initiative has come just in time, in the US at any rate. The social network has been a bit quieter lately in America , according to the Czech-based social media monitoring company SocialBakers.

Zuckerberg launching the Graph initiative

The number of Americans using Facebook fell by nearly 1.4 million in early December, according to new data from SocialBakers.

Facebook still has more than 167 million users in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide, but the recent drop in monthly active users is still akin to losing “the entire population of San Antonio, Texas.” said the Wall Street Journal. “Facebook is possibly getting to a point where the less engaged part of the audience doesn’t visit every 30 days,” says SocialBaker CEO Jan Rezab.

The WSJ , citing experts, says the fall-off might be due to the increased advertising on the site and new experimental fees “which may may be grating on some users’ nerves," experts say.

Earlier this month, for example, Facebook tested charging users (with fees peaking at $100 within the U.S.) to send a message to someone outside their “friends” list. From October, you could promote posts to more friends for a $7 fee.

“There seems to be a change every other week,” says K. Jason Krafsky, who co-wrote the book “Facebook and Your Marriage.”

Independent social media analyst Jennifer Brown opined, “In the New Year, a number of people take a break from social, and others decide it’s a time suck, so remove their accounts all together.”

She said six people in her network quit Facebook in 2013 and she herself took a break from social media this month. Brown says she grew tired of the “vitriol” surrounding the current gun-control debate after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Brian Smith, a San Francisco-based environmental campaigner,according to the WSJ, deleted his account, choosing instead to use Google+ for sports and international news, and Twitter for politics.

“Facebook felt like a never-ending high school reunion,” he says.

In THE UK another report said the figure was down 600,000.

But MD Rezab stepped in to straighten that out.

“We would like to make some clarifications to avoid any confusion," he said. The facts were that “Over 50% of UK's entire population is on Facebook – “which is amazing!”

About 15% of people in UK are under 13 , therefore “not allowed” on Facebook and 16.5% of people in the UK are older than 65 and typically not on Facebook. Only 4% of 65+ year olds out of the 33M are on Facebook in UK.

“This effectively means that UK is inflecting in terms of numbers at near full penetration on Facebook,” said Rezab.

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