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social-network-facebook-yoy-growth-smallFacebook attracts almost twice the number of visits that MySpace does, widening its lead with Connect, according to web analytics services HitWise.

The social networking site first surpassed News Corp.-owned MySpace back in May, but mobile applications and its Facebook Connect service allowed it to boost that gain, according to HitWise. Connect makes users’ basic profile information portable so they can use their Facebook ID to access other services on the web. The company now has about 15,000 partners integrating Connect into their sites.

Note that Hitwise is measuring visits, not membership. Facebook Connect is driving traffic back through the network as users share their activities on other sites with friends. Last week, Facebook captured about 58 percent of all visits in the social networking category to MySpace’s 31 percent. That’s up from four months ago, when Facebook had just bypassed MySpace. The graph to the right shows Facebook’s market share of visits. (Hitwise adjusted it to start at 100 percent to exaggerate changes.) You can see how Facebook lost share throughout 2008 and then nearly doubled it after launching Connect.

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