Facebook users are quitting the social network in droves due to privacy concerns and fear of internet addiction, according to new research.Increasing numbers are taking part in what's been dubbed 'virtual identity suicide' and deleting their accounts.
Analysis of more than 600 people, by researchers from the University of Vienna, found that data protection issues and social pressure to add friends were also among the reasons for leaving.
Others quoted shallow conversations, general dissatisfaction and loss of interest in the site.
Earlier this year research showed Facebook had lost nine million monthly users in the United States and two million in Britain.
Psychologist Stefan Stieger from the university recorded each of the 600 participants' responses to assessment measures based on their level of concern over various issues.
Those who stopped using social media were more concerned about privacy, had higher addiction scores and tended to be more conscientious.
Professor Stieger said: 'It could be possible that personality traits influence the likelihood of quitting one's Facebook account indirectly via privacy concerns and Internet addiction.
'In this case, the concern about one's privacy and Internet addiction propensity would not be directly in charge for quitting one's Facebook account, but would function as mediators of the underlying personality traits.
Compared to the sample of those who continued to use Facebook, the quitters were older, on average, and more likely to be male.