Facebook reaches one-billion user mark
Published Thursday, October 4, 2012 8:11AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 4, 2012 10:44PM EDT
It almost boggles the mind to contemplate, but one of every seven people on Earth now has a Facebook account.
Facebook announced early Thursday morning that one billion users are now using the social media network.
"This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month," company founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a status update on his own Facebook page Thursday morning.
"If you're reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you. Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life."
As many users already know, Facebook started out in in 2004 in a Harvard dorm room as an internal social network. Its popularity quickly grew and the network spread among college and university students. In 2006, it opened up to the public over the age of 13. But it took until 2008 -- four years after it started – before the company reached its first 100 million users.
The site has seen dramatic growth ever since. The one billion users logging onto Facebook every month have registered 1.13 trillion "Likes", uploaded 219 billion photos and done 17 billion location check-ins.
Facebook launches first TV ad:
While growth in the U.S has started to level off, the website is still seeing huge growth in places such as India, Brazil and Indonesia -- thanks in large part to the Facebook app for smartphones.
Technology analyst Carmi Levy calls Thursday’s milestone “a huge achievement by any definition.” But he says Facebook’s future is far from certain.
”It’s a great number in and of itself, but the real question is: what is the company going to do with those billion users?” Levy told CTV’s Canada AM Thursday.
“How is the company going to grow to that next billion? And how is it going to take those users and turn it into a sustainable business? Because it’s almost like you’ve got a great big party, lots of people are there, but now what?
Many Facebook users are still using the service entirely for free, and the company needs to find a way to get those users spending dollars, most analysts agree.
“The reasons the company has had such trouble since May, since its stock went public, is that investors don’t really believe that it has the answer to create revenues that will build the business going forward,” says Levy.
Levy notes that with Zuckerberg himself so entwined with the Facebook image, the CEO has been putting on a publicity blitz in recent weeks, trying to turn things around for the stock. He’s been travelling overseas, going on talk shows, trying to come out of his shell to promote the company he started.
“He’s trying to convince investors and advertisers and consumers that Facebook isn’t just a place where you update your status and take pictures of what you had for breakfast; it’s a serious social media platform that deserves its place among the top-tier companies like Microsoft, like Apple, like Google,” Levy said.
“Until now, Facebook has been that immature little brother. But it wants to play with the big boys.”
Some Facebook facts:
- The site has seen 140.3 billion friend connections
- The median age of users today is about 22
- There are now 600 million mobile Facebook users
- The top five countries where people are connecting on Facebook, in alphabetical order, are: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States
- In January, 2006, when Facebook had just 25 million users, the median age of was about 19. Users who signed up at this time now have an average of 598 friends.