“I started the site when I was 19. I didn’t know much about business back then” – Mark Zuckerberg
4th February, 2004, this young lad started working from a dorm room at Harvard with the intention of getting people to connect and communicate more efficiently. Fast forward to 4th October, 2012, the same young lad updated his status on Facebook saying that one billion people i.e. one in every 7 people in this world are using Facebook actively each month. ((Click here to know more on how Facebook defines active users))
The milestone also reflects the rate the network has grown at since it was just 2 years back when it had reached half the mark. However, Facebook had reached this magical number on September 14 at 12.45 PM, Pacific Time but my guess is that Mark wanted to release it on the 4th!
A billion users on the network also means that there are 140.3 billion friend connections, 219 billions photo uploaded, 62.6 million songs have been played 22 billion times, etc. (( For more such interesting facts click here)) The network also found the biggest support from the youth coming from countries like Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States(in alphabetic order).
According to Social Bakers, Asia has been the largest continent that has been adding the boost to the user growth of Facebook. Indonesia and India are the top two countries followed by US and Brazil to witness faster growth for the month of September.
India which ranks in the top three amongst the total number of users adds up more than 56 million users which is a mere 4.72% in comparison to the total population and 68.31% in relation to the number of Internet users.
Is everything rosy?
Facebook has always been under the cloud of controversy from the time it was born. Leaving aside the legal battle, the biggest buzz it created was with its valuation of $104 billion. Over the period of time, everyone knew that it wasn’t the wisest decision with its shares now hanging at $21 from $38 where it started.
Along with this over the period of 8 years, the social network has struggled to keep it a fun place. Today my news feed looks more like a spam to me and Facebook will have to think on it, like it has been brainstorming to remove the junk of fake users created by businesses to make easy buck.
Security has always been an issue and with the permissible age coming down to 13 years, it is highly debated whether Facebook is a safe network for kids. If we look at it from a business point of view then it makes sense as users were easily fooling the system anyways. But as a parent I am really worried to see my kid on Facebook. Not that I would like him to add me as a friend but considering the amount of trolls sitting on the network, this situation will have to be addressed.
I dare doubt in the capabilities of Mark but then there are challenges that anyone out there who studies the social market will know– 1) Mobile 2) Search 3) Countries like Russia & China and 4) Competition from other networks.
One of the reasons that investors are having nightmares is because the world is moving from bigger screens to the smaller screens. 600 million users out of that 1 billion prefer to access it via Facebook mobile. This right now is not good news since Facebook during its IPO, had made it clear that mobile is a challenge to grow revenues. However post IPO, there has been a plethora of changes in design and trying to figure out new ways to make money from the smaller screen. In fact, Mark himself, has accepted at the recent Disrupt event that the focus right now for the company is mobile.
Additionally, for Facebook to increase its numbers and revenues would mean that it makes its presence felt in countries like Russia and China. This was one of the reasons why Mark was in Moscow recently meeting the Prime Minister Medvedev and interacting with the media.
With respect to competition, none stands near to it. Google Plus may be claiming big numbers but the fact is that Facebook is way ahead in terms of numbers and popularity (may be not feature wise). Salaam World, which aims to launch in November specifically for Muslim users, could be a matter of concern as it claims to sign up 50 million users in next three years. But then the fact is that it is yet to launch and Facebook has 1 Billion!
To celebrate this milestone the world’s largest social networking giant released a video – “The Things that Connect Us”, one of the things they have done for the first time. Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu the video portrays the way small things like chairs, doorbells, games, etc. connect with us, now Facebook does that, it is also a part of the tradition.
So does it connect with you too?