www.herald-journal.com
Facebook hits 1 billion users
October 15, 2012
by Brian Wolf

Well, they’ve done it. Facebook now has over 1 billion people using their site each month, with over half of that number (552 million) logging onto Facebook every day. Now, I know that 1 billion doesn’t sound like a lot in today’s world of $1 trillion annual budget deficits, but in this case, 1 billion is equal to one out of every seven people in the entire world! That’s right, one of every seven people in the world are using Facebook each month.

Just in case you have been out in the pasture a little too long and are not sure who Facebook is, here is an overview from Wikipedia:

Facebook is a social networking service launched in February 2004, owned and operated by Facebook, Inc. As of September 2012, Facebook has over 1 billion active users, more than half of them using Facebook on a mobile device. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as “People from Work” or “Close Friends.”

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The website’s membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over. However, according to a May 2011 Consumer Reports survey, there are 7.5 million children under 13 with accounts, and 5 million under 10, violating the site’s terms of service.

Facebook began trading publicly in mid-May following one of the most anticipated stock offerings in history. The IPO was priced at $38.

Although many investors had hoped for a big first-day pop, Facebook’s stock opened May 18 at $42.05, and fluctuated between $45 and $38 throughout the day. It closed barely above its IPO price, at $38.23.

According to C/NET: Facebook’s recent push to make money could backfire, warns an analyst who believes a user backlash may depress its shares to $16 over the next year. Analyst Richard Greenfield at BTIG lowered his firm’s target price for Facebook on 10-9-12, citing concern over Facebook’s “aggressive” increase of monetization efforts, particularly mobile ads, according to his report. Facebook’s stock opened at $20.39 a share on 10-9-12.

Since going public in May, Facebook has faced increasing pressure from investors to demonstrate that it can keep revenue and profits growing quickly. The social network has increased advertising efforts, testing out advertising on third-party sites and apps, working with companies to advertise to already existing consumers, and tracking user activity online to retarget ads.

Here are a few statistics that I find very interesting:

• Facebook now has 600 million mobile users.

• The median age of Facebook users is 22 (does every kid in the world have a page??)

• At the time Facebook crossed the 1 billion threshold, the top five countries where people used the site were: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the US (China hasn’t even made a splash yet!)

• Since Facebook launched in 2004, it’s seen over 1.13 trillion “likes,” 219 billion uploaded photos, and 17 billion location-tagged posts, including check-ins.

You might believe that Facebook as a stock is a “BUY” or you might believe it’s a “SELL.” I don’t really have an opinion on that right now, other than anyone who invests in stocks should make darn sure they can afford all potential losses.

Because Facebook now has access to approximately one-seventh of the world’s population, it’s possible that at some point, somebody will figure out how to turn that access into even larger revenues. Whether that’s sooner or later, or even never, is anybody’s guess.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and I have no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.


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