The project that began as Facemash in a dorm room at Havard nearly a decade ago, now attracts one billion active users a month according to its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Since renamed, of course, Facebook, the social media site has become so popular that over 14% of the world population is now a member.
The site has enjoyed unprecedented growth. Since it launched officially in 2004, it has recorded 1.13 trillion Likes and 140.3 billion friend connections since, and every day users upload over 300 million new photos. In a message fittingly posted on his own Facebook page, Zuckerberg revealed that he was extremely proud of the website’s success. He wrote, “Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life”. He thanked users of Facebook for giving him and his “little team the hono[u]r of serving [them]”, and pledged to continue to work on improving the site, adding, “I am committed to working everyday to make Facebook better for you”.
This good news will however offer little relief to the company in what have otherwise been very difficult times. Shares in Facebook were first sold in May at a disappointing $38 a share and have only decreased in value since then, selling at only $21 a share yesterday. This drop in share prices is generally attributed to concerns over whether increased internet access via mobile devices could adversely affect advertising revenue. It is harder to generate advertising revenue from Facebook on mobiles, and the company is also struggling to make money from its apps for mobile devices. Around 600 million people now use the social network site on their mobiles at least once a month, up 48 million since June last year, and it can now be accessed on more than 7,000 different types of mobile device.
Investors now expect Facebook to investigate how to expand its market even further by looking into attracting users in areas of the world where it does not yet dominate. Despite easily being the world’s largest social network, users in countries including China and Russia are currently more interested in using local social media sites than the international Facebook. This move will not be without competition either however as new sites emerge. Salam World for example, is set to launch in November and hopes to sign up 50 million Muslim users in three years. Facebook may just have to pull something else out of the bag to keep its one billion users loyal.
Sources include: Daily Mail, Guardian, BBC News
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