Facebook’s UK crowd shrunk 5% between December and January, with the number of users going down to 8.5 million from a previous 8.9 million.

Up till then, the site has been constantly growing for 17 successive months. Still, the data is hardly alarming at this point. First of all, the site is still up 10% compared to the previous quarter and is doing 712% better than it did in January 2007.

Furthermore, it appears that the December – January period was a rough time for the entire social networking in the UK.

MySpace, currently the number two site, also saw its figures go down to 5 million (a 5% drop). Bebo, the next in line, followed the trend but with “less significant” results: a 2 drop to 4.1 million.

On the other hand, there are voices claiming that the booming era is now over and Facebook should better take a good grip on the situation before it has a real problem on its hands. Alex Burmaster, an internet analyst at Nielsen Online told The Times:

"Facebook was never going to be able to carry on growing the way it has, and a lot of people – especially those who’ve been using it heavily – are now starting to get Facebook fatigue. I think when something explodes like that a lot of people check it out because they feel they should, but while getting alerts about what your friends are up to is exciting for a time, that’s inevitably going to die down."