Science and Tech
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Why some users flee Facebook
| New York | 08 May, 2015
(Getty Images)

With more than a billion active Facebook accounts worldwide, "non-use" of the social networking site is now fairly common, finds a study.

The team from Cornell university found that a third of Facebook users take breaks from the site by deactivating their account and one in 10 completely quit.

The motivation for leaving Facebook was varied among the participants -- from concerns about privacy and data misuse to problems with productivity and addiction.

Some respondents also said they were tired of engaging in shallow or banal social interactions.

"Others left or suspended activity to avoid being friended by a boss, a student or former romantic partners," said Eric PS Baumer, post-doctoral associate in communication at Cornell.

In some cases, people reported feeling pressured to leave based on an institutional status, such as being a military officer or parolee.

Of 410 people who responded to an online questionnaire, 46 reported that they had deleted their Facebook account.

More than 90 percent said they were happy with their decision, and most stayed away.

Others were not able to completely cut themselves off, but nonetheless reported taking breaks from using the social networking site.

More than one-quarter of respondents (110) reported deactivating their account which hides everything they have done on Facebook but retains the data and allows them to reactivate at any time.

Two-thirds of deactivators reported being happy with their decision -- one-third subsequently returned to Facebook.

"A few respondents reported using other creative means to limit their use of the site," Baumer added.

There were also 75 people in the survey who reported never having an account.

"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," the authors wrote.

The study also provides evidence that Facebook users who deactivate their account are more likely to know someone else who has also deactivated.

Baumer plans to further explore this potential network effect.

The study was presented at the Association for Computing Machinery's conference on human factors in computing systems in Paris, France recently.

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