Facebook (FB) chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told the world this morning that his company’s website now has one billion users. This means that the number of users has doubled in just over two years from its 500 million participants in July 2010. It also means that one out of every seven people on the planet is a user of Facebook each month.
How did Facebook celebrate breaking the 1 billion user mark, “Well, just everyone came together and counted down. Then we all went back to work,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with Bloomberg. An interview with Zuckerberg aired this morning on Today and will show again on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams at 10pm/9c.
According to graphics, nearly half of the population of the United States and Australia are registered users of the ubiquitous social media giant. The company will be looking to expand upon emerging markets like Africa and Asia, where only about 5 percent of the population are signed-up to the network. Boosting users outside of North America is critical to the growth and financial success of Facebook. U.S. and Canadian users equate to about 20 percent of overall users, but generated nearly 50 percent of the $992 million in advertising revenue last quarter.
Asia has been an especially tough nut for Facebook to crack as government censors block citizens from matriculating to Facebook.
Launched in 2004 and going public in May 2012, Facebook users are responsible for a whopping 1.13 trillion “likes” and nearly 220 billion photos on facebook.com. The Facebook page itself has nearly 77 million “likes” and Mark Zuckerberg’s page has more than 16 million subscribers for updates.
"Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life,” said 28-year old Zuckerberg in a status update on his page today.
Shares of Facebook have been under pressure since its IPO with a valuation around $100 billion. In about five months, the valuation has been nearly cut in half as scrutiny towards the business model to generate revenue amidst a user shift to mobile devices has moved to the forefront. About 60 percent of Facebook’s one billion users access the site via mobile device at least once a month, which leaves far less room for advertisements. About 100 million users access the site exclusively through a mobile device.
“There’s five billion people in the world who have phones, so we should be able to serve many more people and grow the user base there,” Zuckerberg said in today’s interview with Matt Lauer.
Much like the rest of the investment community, the Facebook chief realizes that the company is in a “tough cycle” and has many challenges present to start making-up all the ground that it has lost since May. The company is exploring new tactics to generate additional revenue, such as its “Gift” service and a new post-promoting platform to bring it some additional cash flow. To date, critics are tough on the new schemes. The real key is going to be making it to the next billion users which is going to mean breaking into markets overseas which have been elusive for Facebook to capture so far.
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