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Facebook has overtaken MySpace for the first time in the UK in terms of unique visitors, according to new stats from Nielsen//NetRatings.

The social network, which has been experiencing phenomenal growth recently and is reportedly a target for investment by Microsoft, had 6.5m unique visitors last month compared to 6.4m for its News Corp–owned rival.

At the start of the year, its audience was just a fifth of the size of MySpace’s, and even in May, Facebook had just 3.2m unique vistors compared to its rival’s 6.5m.

The figures also reveal that almost half of the UK's web users now frequent social network sites. 

According to Nielsen//NetRatings, the most popular UK social networks are:

  • Facebook - 6.5m unique visitors 
  • MySpace - 6.4m
  • Bebo - 4.4m
  • Windows Live Spaces - 2.3m
  • Friends Reunited - 2.1m

However, Facebook is no longer the fastest growing social network - this honour goes to Perfspot.com, which has grown at a rate of 756% over the last four months and now has 274,000 users.


  • UK web users spent most time on Facebook - a cumulative total of 991m minutes for August, followed by Bebo with 600m minutes and MySpace on 540m.
  • However, according to time spent per user, Second Life is the leading social network, with an average of 5hrs 29mins. Next is teen site Habbo Hotel on 3hrs 6mins.

Meanwhile, reports suggest Microsoft may be ready to buy a 5% stake in Facebook that would value the social network at a massive $10bn (£4.95bn).

Though talks are apparently at an early stage, the asking price for a 5% stake is reported to be between $300m and $500m, though the Wall Street Journal, the source of the story, says that Google may also be interested.

Related stories:
Facebook to allow public searching of profiles

Related research:
Internet Statistics Compendium - September 2007 

Graham Charlton

Published 25 September, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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