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Facebook Hits a Milestone: 1 Billion Users

Lisa Scherzer
Personal Finance Editor
The Exchange

Facebook (FB) hit a major milestone as it announced Thursday morning that, as of Sept. 14 (12:45 pm Pacific time, to be exact), it had reached one billion users. With a world population of nearly seven billion, that means just about one in seven people across the globe is on Facebook.

Note that those are what the company calls "monthly active users," which are users who log on via the site or a mobile device, or share content or activity with their Facebook friends or through a third-party site that's integrated in some way with Facebook — such as Twitter or Yahoo! Finance — in a 30-day time span. Facebook had 552 million daily active users on average in June 2012.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Facebook's web site that, as of this morning, "there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month." Zuckerberg, naturally, also posted the news on his own page, grouping the social network giant in among the everyday things — such as "chairs, doorbells, airplanes, bridges, games" — that connect us. (Check out this 90-second video -- basically an ode to chairs -- Facebook had made for the occasion.)

A Rough Public Unveiling

Facebook reached 500 million users in 2010, and in its second-quarter earnings call at the end of July, the company said it had reached 955 million monthly average users and it was only a matter of time before it reached the billion mark. Since it went public in May the social company has been weighed down by doubts over whether it was worth nearly as much as its IPO estimated, which was $104 billion.

Everyone knows the story of Facebook's disastrous debut in the public arena: The stock has crumbled nearly 44% since it began trading on May 18. On Thursday the stock was putting in a wobbly performance, failing to achieve a "1 billion users" lift.

So how long before the next billion users sign onto Facebook? Of course that'll be tougher than getting the first set of nine zeroes. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Zuckerberg said that getting to two or three billion users over the next 10 years will be one focus, but the bigger question will be "what services can get built now that every company can assume they can get access to knowing who everyone's friends are."

Despite having one billion users, money-making has been and remains Facebook's central challenge. It announced this week that it was testing a new service in the U.S. and 20 other countries that lets members pay $7 to promote their posts in their friends' news feeds, just as advertisers do on the site.

Here are some metrics the company released about its billion users:

-Facebook now has 600 million mobile users
-The median age of Facebook users is 22
-The top five countries where people used the site at the time it crossed the one-billion threshold were Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the U.S.
-Since Facebook launched in 2004, it's seen over 1.13 trillion "likes," 219 billion photos uploaded and 17 billion location-tagged posts, including check-ins.

Here are just a few of the one billion Facebook users singing its praises — literally — in the little-known "Thank You Facebook" song. (Don't blame us if its saccharine chorus is lodged in your brain for days -- and weeks -- to come.)