After years of study, uninterrupted growth, Facebook is celebrating 2 billion monthly active users. That’s roughly every fourth person on Earth, not to mention well over half of the world’s internet users. Most importantly: Facebook has landed this achievement well ahead of any of its major competitors.
Now, some people wonder if Facebook has peaked – a fair question with so many users – and whether or not its easy growth is coming to an end. There are – indeed – a billion and a half or so individuals who have internet access and still have the audacity to not be Facebook users, but to be fair, many of them are living and China and… well.. Facebook is blocked in China.
Facebook is attempting to reach new audiences by paying telecoms to offer Facebook in faraway regions, subsidizing WiFi in India and building internet drones that could deliver web access to the Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s spending big cash on these projects, which shows in its expenditure report.
It’s not just a matter of number of active users, although it’s clearly a number many investors care about. Most of Facebook’s revenue comes from three areas: North America, Europe, and Asia – where people have money to spend and companies have reason to advertise. Potential users come from poorer areas of the planet.
Needless to say, even if Facebook has peaked – or nearing it – no one thinks that Facebook’s success is going to end tomorrow. However, this week, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg stated that continuing to add more people to the social network was not enough (a convenient stand considering it might be getting harder and harder now). He said the company will now focus on assisting people in building strong bonds which – he said – is the clear response to growing isolationism and nationalism all over the world. He even went as far as saying “now, let’s bring the world closer together”.
This sounds like a very nice mission, the kind Hollywood viewers would expect in a really tacky movie about aliens trying to take over the world, but don’t let the pretty message fool you. It shows that Facebook’s management understands its facing major challenges as far as user growth is concerned. The real question is whether or not the world’s leading social platform will manage to hold on to its status and if investors will keep their faith in its ability to attract users and generate revenue.
The 2 billion mark is impressive, no doubt, but as is always the case with tech giant, once a company achieves a certain goal the next immediate question is “what’s next?”
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