Facebook users ‘internet addicts’ – online three times as often

Facebook users spend 3.26 times longer on the Internet than non-Facebook users, signaling an important behavioural shift according to new research from Nielsen Online.

Facebook NielsenThe research conducted by Nielsen found that Australians with Facebook accounts were online an average of 25.8 hours compared to an average of only 7.91 hours for non-Facebook users. Suggesting there is a significant ‘digital divide’ between those who view the internet as their primary ‘social and entertainment destination’ and those who still view the internet as only a productivity tool.

Mark Higginson, Nielsen director of Analytics, concludes Facebook users interact with the internet differently, leveraging it in their everyday lives more often compared to non-users.

“We wanted to determine what types of activity people are engaging in, so we split them into two groups. There are substantial sizes of population in both, with over five million who don’t use Facebook. And it turns out there are a large number of differences in engagements.”

“First of all, if you take Facebook out of the question entirely, Facebook users are still spending an enormous amount of time on the internet in general. In fact, recently those figures show that Facebook users have spent the same amount of time just on Facebook that non-users spent on the internet entirely.”

Mr Higginson believes the difference in the results can be attributed to Facebook users viewing the internet as a vehicle to consume entertainment, whereas non-Facebook users only see the internet as a tool to be productive. That is not to say that Facebook users don’t also use the internet for productive means, it does however highlight an important behavioural difference in how the two groups view the internet.

“Facebook users are spending a lot more time using video, a lot more time on entertainment sites, and so on. Our conclusion is that those who use Facebook view it as another media platform. They think, “will I watch television or surf on the internet for a while?”.

“Whereas non-Facebook users tend to the view the internet as more functionally orientated. They think, “I have to do my banking” or “I have to pay this bill”. Facebook users consume media, whereas non-users use the internet as a tool.”

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