After 1 billion users, what’s next for Facebook

Facebook has officially reached the 1 billion monthly active user milestone, a great round number to trumpet for a company that’s been struggling through some post-IPO blues. The achievement was expected at some point, but is still impressive in its own right.

Facebook, which launched in 2004, took four years to get to its first 100 million users and hit 500 million users in 2010. Now it has 600 million users just on mobile. In those eight years, Facebook users have generated:

  • More than 1.13 trillion likes
  • 140.3 billion friend connections
  • 219 billion photos uploaded

“Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life,” said co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a blog post. “I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.”

Hitting that milestone allows Facebook to become an even more important identity layer for more companies, who can use Facebook to register users and connect them. Here’s what Zuckerberg told Bloomberg Businessweek:

“So for the next five or 10 years the question isn’t going to be, does Facebook get to 2 billion or 3 billion? I mean, that’s obviously one question. But the bigger question is, what services can get built now that every company can assume they can get access to knowing who everyone’s friends are. I think that’s going to be really transformative. We’ve already seen some of that in games and media, music, TV, video, that type of stuff. But I think there’s about to be a big push in commerce.”

Going forward, mobile will also be at the core of what Facebook does. With 5 billion mobile users in the world, that’s where Facebook can expect to grow and that’s how it can expect to make money, Zuckerberg told Bloomberg Businessweek.

“We already know that people who use Facebook on mobile use it more, spend more time on it. Over the long term I also think we’re going to make more money per amount of time that people are spending on mobile, because it has this focus as a device. It’s more like TV, where you’re doing one thing at a time. The advertising and monetizing has to be integrated in, whereas on desktop we kind of reached this equilibrium where there’s the content and then the ads off to the side of it. So I’m really optimistic about that.”

And even with the problems with Facebook’s disappointing IPO, Zuckerberg said he continues to focus the company on building things and moving fast. He told NBC’s Rock Center that he’s tried to follow in Steve Jobs’ footsteps by focusing on the user experience.

“We’ve had a lot of that philosophy too, which is we just want to stay maniacally focused on building the best product for those people and I think that’s the path to building a great business…”

Images courtesy of Flickr user Jason McElweenie