We previously published a clarification to one of The Guardian’s articles three months ago (read more in Clarification to Guardian on Facebook losing UK users). In this article, I explained the stats in question, revealed the source of the stats, and admonished journalists against jumping to conclusions about them going forward.
Well, The Guardian did not heed the advice, jumping to an even bigger conclusion this time.
We state, quite clearly, on our site that these figures are rough estimates and cannot be used to determine Facebook traffic. Again, we explained this to The Guardian when they published a similar story some months ago.
To other journalists out there, the same thing applies to the UK and US Facebook stats as it did three months ago:
- Around 50% of the UK's entire population is on Facebook – which is amazing!
- About 15% of people in the UK are under 13 years old therefore “not allowed” on Facebook
- 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)
The bottom line here is that there is no story.
(UPDATED 2.5.2013): Facebook has just released some updated official numbers on the earnings call, you can read more in Wall Street Journal., and here are the slides from CNET. You can make your own picture and conclusion. What we will do to avoid confusion is move the Facebook statistics section into our media planning product Ads Analytics for clients-only. We want to make sure we present only exact stats on the site – like brand fan / follower count.