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Facebook users are committing 'virtual identity suicide' in droves and quitting the site over privacy and addiction fears

Thursday, September 19
Facebook users are quitting the social network in droves due to privacy concerns and fear of internet addiction, according to new research. Increasing numbers are taking part in what's been dubbed as 'virtual identity suicide' and deleting their accounts. Analysis of more than 600 people, by researchers from the University of Vienna, found that data protection issues and social pressure to add friends were also among the reasons for leaving.

Others quoted shallow conversations, general dissatisfaction and loss of interest in the site.

Earlier this year, research showed Facebook had lost nine million monthly users in the United States and two million in Britain. These figures come from research carried out by SocialBakers in April. Psychologist Stefan Stieger from the university recorded each of the 600 participants' responses to assessment measures based on their level of concern over various issues.

Those who stopped using social media were more concerned about privacy, had higher addiction scores and tended to be more conscientious.

Compared to the sample of those who continued to use Facebook, the quitters were older, on average, and more likely to be male.

Reasons for quitting Facebook were mainly privacy concerns (48.3%), followed by a general dissatisfaction (13.5%), negative aspects of online friends (12.6%) and the feeling of getting addicted (6.0%). (Daily Mail)