Facebook flourishes among over-50s

The domination of Facebook by young people could soon be over. The use of the social networking site by over-50s is rising faster than any other group.

Membership grew by 41 per cent between 2009 and 2011, but among older users, the figure was 84 per cent, according to a study by research firm Nielsen.

The research suggests that Facebook, which was originally created by founder Mark Zuckerberg exclusively for students, is being invaded by an army of parents eager to follow the exploits of their children.

The research contradicts separate studies released earlier this month which suggested that the site's popularity in the UK was on the wane.

A website called Inside Facebook was the first to make the claim, backed up by research carried out by Brilliant Media, which used data from Google.

The new study, which based its information on the behaviour of a panel of internet users, concluded that 26.8 million people in the UK visited Facebook during May. Only Google was more popular.

Twitter also enjoyed a record month, with 6.14 million unique visitors – a 34 per cent increase on the previous month. The number of women aged over 65 using the site grew by 96 per cent over the same period.

Business networking site LinkedIn had 3.59 million unique UK visitors in May, 57 per cent more than in April.