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Facebook use jumps -- thanks to older users

Facebook is longer just a teenage thing; Mom and Dad like the social network too

March 13, 2009 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - If you got your own Facebook page last month, there's a good chance you're closer to getting your first copy of AARP than to finally hitting the legal drinking age.

Seems Facebook Inc.'s social network just isn't for the young whippersnappers that dominated its user base at first.

Last month, the social network's audience of people over the ripe old age of 35 increased by 23% compared with February 2008, according to a report released today by Hitwise Pty., which measures online traffic. While Facebook was launched to serve college students, the network over the past year or so has broadly expanded to include many middle-aged folks.

At the same time, Hitwise said that Facebook rival MySpace.com Inc. has been unable to expand its base beyond teenagers. In fact, the number of MySpace users over the age of 35 dropped 2% from February 2008 to last month, Hitwise noted.

Hitwise anonymously captures the online usage, search and conversion behavior of some 25 million Internet users.

The report also said that overall Facebook use increased by 149% from February 2008 to last month.

Facebook, which celebrated its fifth anniversary last month, also overshadowed MySpace in December, bringing in almost double the number of worldwide visitors, according to online research firm comScore Inc. Facebook, once thought of as the up-and-coming social network, had almost 222 million unique visitors in December, while MySpace came in at 125 million, comScore said. The race for unique visitors was a near dead heat in April 2008.

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