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Fewer Brits are using social media, but those who do can't put down their phone

Matt Brian, @m4tt
12.11.14
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While you might access your Facebook feed or Twitter timeline numerous times a day, as a general rule, social media use in Britain has actually fallen over the last year. In a new research report, UK regulator Ofcom found that the number of people signing on to their favourite social networking sites each week dropped from 65 percent in September 2013 to 56 percent in October 2014. In fact, the UK saw the biggest drop across the nine countries compared in Ofcom's study, which polled 9,000 people across the US, Japan, China and most of the big European nations.

As part of its research, the watchdog looked into how Britain ranks against other countries in terms of communication, which includes how many people access social media services, how often they log on and what they want from them. Unsurprisingly, it's the younger users that are driving social in the UK and they're using smartphones to get their fix. According to Ofcom, almost three-quarters of 18 to 24 year-olds used social networks at least once a week, while only just under half of 55 to 64 year-olds did the same (the second biggest difference between age groups in Europe).

Those younger users have also helped the UK remain second only to the US for most active mobile social networkers: 40 percent of internet users admitted they open social apps on their phone every day, matching last year's figures. Overall, 64 percent of internet users accessed social networks using their mobile, while 62 percent of respondents admitted they did so on their desktop. But what sites are they accessing? Facebook leads the pack by a significant margin, with 68 percent reach, followed by Twitter's 25 percent share and LinkedIn and Google+ trailing slightly behind with 20 percent.

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