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Facebook leads social pack in US, Twitter sputters: study

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Facebook remains the dominant social network for US Internet users, while Twitter has failed to keep apace with rivals like Instagram and Pinterest, a study showed Wednesday.

[WASHINGTON] Facebook remains the dominant social network for US Internet users, while Twitter has failed to keep apace with rivals like Instagram and Pinterest, a study showed Wednesday.

The Pew Research Center report found 72 per cent of Americans who are online currently use Facebook, a modest uptick of one percentage point from a year ago and five points higher than in 2012.

Because the vast majority of Americans use the Internet, the figures suggest 62 per cent of all US adults are on Facebook, according to Pew.

The study showed Pinterest, the bulletin-board style network, was used by 31 per cent of those surveyed while Facebook-owned photo-sharing network Instagram grabbed 28 per cent, with both showing significant growth.

Twitter's share remained stuck at 23 per cent, the same level as last year, although it rose from 16 per cent in 2012.

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Facebook has an added advantage over its rivals because its users are "highly engaged," according to the survey, which found 70 per cent of Facebook users saying they log on daily, including 43 per cent who do so several times a day.

That compared with daily engagement of 59 per cent for Instagram users, 38 per cent of those on Twitter and 27 per cent of Pinterest users.

LinkedIn, a social network oriented toward career enhancement, saw its user base decline to 25 per cent of online adults, from 28 per cent in 2014. But those who use the platform daily rose to 22 per cent from 13 per cent a year earlier.

Some 10 per cent of online adults said they used Tumblr, the blogging platform acquired two years ago by Yahoo. That compared with six per cent the last time Pew asked in December 2012.

Tumblr is popular among younger adults with 20 per cent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 reporting they use it, Pew found.

The survey mirrored the global picture for the major social networks. Facebook last month said its monthly active user based grew to 1.49 billion. Twitter's user base increased only marginally to 316 million.

Pew found that Facebook was notably popular among women, garnering 77 per cent of those who are online, and the 18-29 age group, where 82 per cent use the social network.

The Pew survey also showed considerable interest in messaging applications which allow smartphone users to bypass carrier networks.

Some 36 per cent of smartphone owners said they used messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Kik or iMessage.

These apps are especially popular among young adults, and were used by 49 per cent of smartphone owners between the ages of 18 and 29, Pew found.

"The emergence of messaging apps is noteworthy as these communication tools serve different social needs than traditional online social networks," said lead author Maeve Duggan, a researcher at Pew.

"The data also show how swiftly an already complex terrain of interaction is becoming more varied." The Pew report is based on telephone interviews conducted from March 17 to April 12 among a national sample of 1,907 adults, including 1,612 Internet users, with a margin of error between 2.6 and 4.6 percentage points, depending on the subgroup.


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