Facebook users unfriended tops half a billion in 2011

Late night funnyman Jimmy Kimmel's first Unfriend Day was such a huge success, he just had to do it again.

The inaugural 2010 event saw millions of Facebook users trimming the fat from their respective profiles, all in the name of what irked the jocular television host.

"Everyone I work with is on Facebook all the time," Kimmel shared with the Los Angeles Times. "I just don't understand why they're interested in what somebody they went to the fifth grade with is having for lunch...I decided it would be a good idea to encourage people to whittle those friends down."

With the help of Canadian Trekkie William Shatner, Kimmel kicked off his second annual Unfriend Day in November 2011. What followed was either a simple coincidence, or proof that Kimmel's influence can challenge that of Oprah Winfrey.

A report from GOOD reveals that more than half a billion Facebook users were unfriended in 2011, far surpassing the 158 million who saw the same fate in 2009.

Morley Winograd, director of the Institute of Communication Tech Management at the University of Southern California, believes much of the unfriending stems from users becoming more privacy-conscious as they grow older, according to a Complex blog. Some believe the phenomenon comes down to "users not interacting with Facebook as a social network, but more so as a repository simply for personal info."

But tech-writer Devin Chadra has a different opinion.

"That's what happens when you go to college and pretend as if you'll continue any sort of correspondence with someone you've only ever spoken to once for five minutes, drunkenly at night," shares Chandra in the Complex blog. "And then you graduate and realize you don't even remember those people, let alone that night."

The opinions certainly do vary, but one thing is inarguable: having more than a billion users unfriended on Facebook cannot be good news for Mark Zuckerberg.

(Reuters photo)