10 Years and Growing; Facebook Pros and Cons

February 11, 2014

By Jack Loechner, MediaPost

According to a Pew Research Center survey, Facebook turning 10 has reached the dominant social networking platform, used by 57% of all American adults and 73% of all those ages 12-17. Adult Facebook use is intensifying as well. 64% of Facebook users visit the site on a daily basis, up from 51% who were daily users in 2010. Among teens, the total number of users remains high, and they are not abandoning the site. However, focus group interviews suggest that teens’ relationship with Facebook is complicated and may be evolving.

The survey findings show how people are using Facebook and what they like and dislike about the site. Some users dislike certain aspects, but fear of missing out on social activities isn’t one of them.

The “fear of missing out” phenomenon resonates with only a small proportion of the Facebook population. Just 5% of Facebook users strongly dislike the fact that Facebook allows them to see others taking part in social activities that they themselves were not included in, but 84% of users say that this aspect of Facebook life doesn’t bother them at all.

Their dislikes start with oversharing by friends and people posting one’s personal information (such as photos) without first asking permission are among the most common. Parents are especially protective of images of their children, as 57% of Facebook users with children under the age of 18 say that people posting pictures of their children without asking permission first is something they strongly dislike about using Facebook.

Women and men often have varying reasons for why they use Facebook, but everything starts with sharing and laughs. Users say they especially appreciate photos and videos from friends (47% say that’s a major reason they use the site), the ability to share with many people at once (46% cite that as a major reason), updates from others (39% cite that), and humorous content (39%). Other aspects of Facebook, such as keeping up with news, or receiving support from the people in one’s network, appeal to a more modest audience of users. Men and women sometimes vary in their reasons for using the site.

Half of all adult Facebook users have more than 200 friends in their network. Among adult Facebook users, the average number of friends is 338, and the median number of friends is 200. Younger users tend to have significantly larger friend networks than older users: 27% of 18-29 year old Facebook users have more than 500 friends in their network, while 72% of users age 65+ have 100 friends or fewer.

Younger users are more likely to have been asked to “unfriend” a person in their network than older users: 19% of 18-29 year old Facebook users have had someone ask them to remove a friend from their network (compared with 10% of 30-49 year olds, 7% of 50-64 year olds, and 5% of those 65 and older).

These “friend removal” requests tend to come primarily from:

  • Other friends (35%)
  • Current (23%) or former (12%) spouses or romantic partners
  • 38% of those who received this type of request say that they were asked to remove a friend from their Facebook network
  • 22% were asked to unfriend a former romantic partner

When asked about the frequency with which they engage in certain behaviors on the site, Facebook users tend to point towards “liking” content that others have posted and commenting on photos as the activities they engage in most often. On the other hand, most users change or update their own status only occasionally:

  • 44% of Facebook users “like” content posted by their friends at least once a day, with 29% doing so several times per day
  • 31% comment on other people’s photos on a daily basis, with 15% doing so several times per day
  • 19% send private Facebook messages to their friends on a daily basis, with 10% sending these messages multiple times per day
  • 10% change or update their own status on Facebook on a daily basis, with 4% updating their status several times per day. 25% of Facebook users say that they never change or update their own Facebook status

Many non-Facebook users still have some familiarity with the site through family members. Among internet users who do not use Facebook themselves, 52% say that someone else in their household has a Facebook account. In many instances, these may be parents who do not use Facebook but live with a child who does. 66% of parents with a child living at home who do not use Facebook themselves say that someone in their household has a Facebook account.


"10 Years and Growing; Facebook Pros and Cons." Jack Loechner. MediaPost, 02/11/14.

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