Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 13:54 UK

Facebook 'improves social skills'

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Facebook helps old friends keep in touch, the study found

A study has suggested that Facebook can encourage people to be more sociable.

The Cambridge University findings go against other studies which suggest using online social networking sites makes people less social.

Researchers discovered Facebook gave people more choice on how they conduct relationships and was "a way of storing biography and enhancing social memory".

The study showed many people used it to track people they liked or to find out what ex-partners were up to.

Members log on to Facebook to look at profiles and pictures because more information can be gleaned from it than a phone call or letter, the study said.

But people also used it to keep in touch with old school and university friends who they might otherwise lose contact with.

As a result it could change the way people associated at a fundamental level, meaning former relationships and associations can be revived, according to the study.

The findings are based on focus groups with students and interviews. More than 15 people took part in focus groups and seven people had in-depth interviews about Facebook lasting several hours.

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