facebook logo26.8 million people visited the Facebook site in in the UK during May 2011, up 7% from last year, according to research from UKOM/Nielsen. This overtakes the 26.2 million who visited Microsoft’s MSN/WindowsLive/Bing sites combined, but trails Google at number one who had 33.9 million.

“The growth in audiences to these social networks is now primarily being driven by the 50-plus age group. Just a few years ago, this group may have found itself out of place on these sites,” UKOM general manager James Smythe said.

Ashley Highfield, Microsoft’s UK managing director, told The Telegraph he was “not fussed” to have been leapfrogged. He said that MSN was being re-focussed after a period in which it had benefited from being the page that Hotmail users, and others, were automatically routed to after being logged out.

The study was conducted with 50,000 people in Britain and similar sample sizes in other countries.