Has Facebook peaked?

The surging growth of Facebook appears to have come to a halt, with the online social network losing market share in Australia and Britain in January 2008.

The Australian reports that Facebook’s share of the local social network market as measured by Hitwise dropped from 18.36% in December 2007 to 17.95% in January 2008.

And in Britain, the number of Facebook users dropped 5% between December and January, from 8.9 million to 8.5 million unique visitors per month, according to Nielsen figures reported in the Times online.

Mind you, it’s all relative – Facebook’s audience is still up 712% on this time last year – and other social networks are also suffering, with MySpace’s British audience down 14% and Bebo down 8%.

“Facebook was never going to be able to carry on growing the way it has, and a lot of people – especially those who’ve been using it heavily – are now starting to get Facebook fatigue,” Nielsen Online analyst Alex Burmaster told The Times.

“I think when something explodes like that, a lot of people check it out because they feel they should, but while getting alerts about what your friends are up to is exciting for a time, that’s inevitably going to die down.”



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