Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has announced today that the social networking site now has one billion users, meaning one in seven of the world’s population is a Facebook member.
If the site were a country, it would have the third-largest population in the world, after China, with 1.34 billion people, and India, with 1.2 billion.
The highest proportion of users is, unsurprisingly, in North America, where 44.97 per cent of the population uses the site. The second-highest percentage is in Australia and Oceania, with 42.14 per cent, and third is South America where the figure is 33.92 per cent. In Europe, 29.96 per cent of the population are Facebook users, but the figure in the UK is 50 per cent – or 30.6 million people.
Figures for usage in Asia, where rival networks dominate, are significantly smaller at 6.68 per cent of the population, and in Africa the figure drops to 5.15 per cent.
Russia’s equivalent site VKontakte boasts in excess of 300 million members, compared with Facebook’s seven million in the country, while success for Facebook in China would mean unseating rival RenRen, which has more than more than 30 million users, and the Twitter-like service Sina Weibo, with more than 300 million users.
The news comes in a year which has seen Facebook’s share price fall from $38 in May to $22. Zuckerberg has seen the value of his own Facebook holdings plummet roughly nine billion dollars (£5.6 billion) as sceptics question his ability to lead the company he founded eight years ago in a Harvard University dormitory, as immortalised in David Fincher’s 2010 Oscar-winning film The Social Network.
Launched in 2004, when Zuckerberg was 19, Facebook has accumulated 1.18 trillion ‘likes’, displayed 219 billion photos, and played host to 17 billion location check-ins. The median age of users is 22, and 600 million of them now access the site from a mobile device.
In a status update on his Facebook profile today, Zuckerberg wrote: “If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you. Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.
“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.”
According to the most recently-available total user figures for the most popular social networking sites, Twiiter is still sitting at just over half the number Facebook has, at 555 million.
Former teen favourite MySpace currently has 262 million users, while Google’s rival service Google + has 170 million, and professional network LinkedIn has 150 million. Relative newcomers Instagram, a photo-sharing app for mobiles, and virtual pinboard site Pinterest, have 80 million and 23 million users respectively.
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