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Study: One-Third of Facebook Users Deactivate Their Account

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- Over a third of Facebook users take breaks from the site by deactivating their account for reasons ranging from avoiding a boss’s friend request to addiction, according to a new study from Cornell University.

The study, presented Tuesday at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris, France, asked 410 people about their Facebook habits.

More than one-third of Facebook users, 110 people, said they had deceived their account in the past. Doing so hides everything they have done on the social networking site, but retains all of their data, allowing them to reactivate and jump right back in whenever they want.

The study found that 90 percent of these people said they were happy with their decision, with most not returning to the site.

Some responders used more creative methods to cut down on the time they spent on Facebook, including having significant others control their passwords and rationing out social networking time. Others used browser plug-ins blocking the site.

Seventy-five respondents said they had never signed up for Facebook in the first place.

Reasons given for stepping away from the site varied. Many were concerned with privacy issues, or wanted to avoid what one respondent called “life in a global aquarium.” Others quit to avoid being friended by a boss on an ex.

Others still were tired of engaging in seemingly shallow interactions. Researchers “observed a sense of rebelliousness and pride among those who resisted Facebook,” according to the study’s lead author Eric P.S. Baumer, postdoctoral associate in communication.

The researchers say this is the first study that fully captures the extent of non-use of Facebook, and note that people who don’t use Facebook are more likely to know others who shun the site as well.

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