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Facebook Officially Passes the Half a Billion User Mark

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Updated: Facebook now has over 500 million registered users, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced in a blog post today, calling it “an important milestone for all of you who have helped spread Facebook around the world.” In the last 18 months Facebook has more than tripled in size. Less than six months ago, the social network passed the 400-million-user mark, and at the beginning of last year it had just 150 million registered users. In honor of passing the half a billion mark, Zuckerberg also launched a site called Facebook Stories, where users of the network can upload their thoughts about how it has affected their lives, and a feature containing messages of thanks from Facebook employees.

Even with its prodigious growth rate, Facebook has suffered more than its share of growing pains — particularly over the past year, as it launched its “open graph platform” aimed at extending its social graph plugins to millions of websites, and fought multiple governments and privacy advocates over changes to its user settings. Zuckerberg, meanwhile, has gone from being the archetype of the twenty-something web entrepreneur to being the subject of unflattering behind-the-scenes stories about the rise of the social network, both in a book and a forthcoming movie. And while it may be huge and growing, Facebook still has work to do in terms of consumer satisfaction, according to a recent survey that ranked it behind both the airline industry and the cable TV industry.

Update: Facebook’s CEO has said that the network plans to continue growing just as quickly as it has been over the past year, telling attendees at an advertising conference in Cannes that he expects the company to reach the one-billion-user mark, calling it “almost a guarantee.” And as it has grown, the social network has become more popular with advertisers — the company told Bloomberg last month that the number of advertisers it was working with had quadrupled in 2009, and numbers from eMarketer show that worldwide advertising on Facebook grew by almost 40 percent last year, to $600 million. The site has also been working on building results from all of the social-graph plugins and “like” buttons into its search engine, which some believe could become a strong competitor for Google.

Facebook’s current statistics include:

* 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
* Average user has 130 friends
* People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook
* Average user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events
* Average user creates 70 pieces of content each month
* More than 25 billion pieces of content shared each month.
* About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
* Every month, more than 70% of Facebook users engage with Platform applications
* More than one million websites have integrated with Facebook Platform

Embedded below is a video of Mark Zuckerberg introducing Facebook Stories:

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): Why Google Should Fear the Social Web

13 Responses to “Facebook Officially Passes the Half a Billion User Mark”

  1. Hi Susan,

    The figure is 500 million monthly active users (i.e. user accounts that have been used within the last month). Business/brand pages are not user accounts, they are separate accounts that are controlled by one or more regular user accounts. So no, they’re not included.

    I think the even bigger news is that Facebook say that over half their active users use the site each day, so that’s 250 million daily active users!

  2. Impressive..Facebook is a GREAT tool for those in business. I am living proof of that. :) and I’m happy that I’m one of the 500 million members!!!! btw does this also include all the business accounts too?

  3. Erm, Jason, read my previous comment. Exactly zero of the 500 million are inactive. The stat is for monthly active users, not user accounts. As for ‘fake’/spam accounts, they tend to get deleted pretty quickly once a few users have reported them.

  4. Jason Link

    Great…how many of those 500 million are either inactive or fake? I love how everybody makes a big deal of “400…500 million users”, when in REALITY probably only 50 million are active or real accounts.

    Remember MYSPACE anyone? Oh yeah…none of those accounts were fake…er stalkers…

    Twitter is no different. 100 million users??? Yeah right. Sure, most of my friends have an account…and most of them never use it. If you’re a realist you understand it’s a FAD.

  5. Actually Facebook already had 500 million users (probably more like 600 million). The stat that they’re announcing today is monthly active users (i.e. number of people who’ve used the site in the past month). So the simple number of members (i.e. user accounts) will have been passed some time ago. Make sure to get your headline/statements right, GigaOM!

    Inactive accounts are obviously not included in the figure. Blocked accounts will not be included if they are inactive (were blocked over a month ago). Spam accounts generally get removed quickly from the site. If a person has multiple accounts that they are actively using, then yes, those will be counted separately, but also shut down as soon as Facebook is aware, as it’s against their T&Cs so do that – but as you only need one personal account to run multiple brand pages, groups, apps, events etc. this will be less than 5 million, possibly even lower. The point is they’re around the 500m mark, whether it’s actually today or in a fortnight.