Facebook users take breaks from ‘life in aquarium’

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TWO-thirds of all Facebook users take breaks from the site by deactivating their account – and 10 per cent ultimately quit completely, a new study has revealed.

More than 90 per cent said they were happy with their decision, and most stayed away even if they were regular users, the research published yesterday found.

Reasons for quitting the social networking phenomenon ranged from worries about privacy and data misuse to addiction and avoiding a boss or ex-partner.

Some even said they were tired of engaging in “shallow” social interactions.

Study leader Professor Eric Baumer, of Cornell University in the United States, said: “While some respondents reported simply not having a use for the site, others provided elaborate lists of reasons they would not join.

“Some did not want to be on display or live ‘life in a global aquarium. We also observed a sense of rebelliousness and pride among those who resisted Facebook”.

More than a quarter of people who responded said they had deactivated their account, which hides everything they have done on Facebook, but retains the data and allows them to reactivate at any time. One in 10 ten said they had deleted their accounts for good.

Two-thirds of deactivators reported being happy with their decision; one-third said they had later returned to Facebook.

The study also also showed users who deactivate their account are more likely to know someone else who has also deactivated, and Prof Baumer plans to further explore this potential network effect.