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Facebook hangs up '500 million served' sign

I guess that whole "Quit Facebook Day" thing didn't really pan out: This morning, Facebook announced that it now has 500 million active users.

The news, predicted earlier this week and noted a few minutes ago on Cecilia Kang's Post Tech blog here, suggests that neither worries about privacy nor other complaints raised about the social-networking site have slowed its growth in any meaningful way.

Thumbnail image for facebook_logo.jpg

To put this rate of growth in perspective, a year and a half ago, it was a big deal for Facebook to hit the 150-million-user mark. By last Sept. 15, it had more than doubled in size to 350 million users. February saw it announce its 400 millionth user.

Now it can claim about 7.3 percent of the world's population -- though we can't tell how many of those 500 million accounts are duplicates set up by people to promote their work, cheat on significant others or hide an espionage assignment.

To commemorate the occasion, the Palo Alto, Calif., company has set up a "Thanks" page featuring photos of its employees expressing their gratitude, plus a new application called "Facebook Stories," in which users can testify to their experience of the site. You can browse by location (for example, a Kensington resident tells how Facebook helped him adopt his child) or search by theme. Your choices in the latter include "Crime Fighting," "Reunions," "Lost and Found," and "Music" ... but not "Drunk Facebooking" or "Shouldn't Have Friended My Boss."

(There-will-be-a-quiz-on-this-afterwards disclaimers: Post Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook's board of directors, while the newspaper and an increasing number of Post staffers, myself included, use Facebook for marketing purposes.)

So here's my question: When does Facebook hit the next milestone? And the one after that? Those of you who have, in fact, quit Facebook -- or pared down your use of the site -- are welcome to hold forth in the comments, too.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  July 21, 2010; 1:34 PM ET
Categories:  Social media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A lunch date with Yelp
Next: Flipboard's iPad Web-zine flops under weight of its own hype

Comments

Well, I'm very happy for the facebook crew. (They seem to make a point of writing the name of the place in lower-case letters on their pages.)

I wanted to mention another site that seems to be tied to them: YouTube. I got cross-way with them yesterday. I'd had troubles posting comments to videos on the YouTube site for the last couple of weeks. I kept getting an error, no matter how I approached the commenting process. My wife can comment freely and thinks I'm pretty funny for my difficulties.

I blogged about my frustrations at
http://keyholefull.blogspot.com/2010/07/error-try-again-in-red.html
which you are certainly free to read. The image at the top of the post tells a lot about my frustration level when I wrote it yesterday.

This error has been evident since at least April 7 with no fix. And it only affects some folks. However, the disregard for an error like this is a sign of the times and an example of how hard it is to get the ear or other appendage of someone associated with biggies in the cyber-world who can actually affect solutions to maddening problems that crop up for users of the big sites.

As you said above, when you ostensibly reach 7.3% of the world's population with a site, that is a large chunk of folks. And I have a feeling with millions and millions of hits on some videos, YouTube must be of that general size of audience, too.

Posted by: RHMathis | July 21, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I wish I worked at facebook. How great they must feel today!

Posted by: maxinea | July 21, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Facebook - now that you got 500,000,000 users signed up, you could use some of that clout. Ask Adobe to release the 64 bit version of Flash Player.
Dual and Quad processors have been out for over a year. We with newer PCs are having problems with applications using flash player. e.g. Farmville

Posted by: mietz | July 22, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Served?

Posted by: featheredge99 | July 22, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

As someone who works for a newspaper, you surely realize that the number of users/readers isn't worth a bucket of warm spit unless you know the churn and retention. And intensity: how many FB users have pretty much given up on their accounts, but are flummoxed by the labyrinthine instructions to actually remove their account -- which according to FB's own TOS may or may not result in their data being deleted if successful?

It strikes me that given another of your posts, a merger between Facebook and Yelp (YelpFace) would be an appropriate amalgam of big-time Web scammers.

As P.T. Barnum once said...

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | July 22, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

"Facebook" is a commercial success in spades for those directly responsible for the creation of this cyber-superficial-shallowness. A surpassing achievement of vacuous electron pushing. No more...no less.

Good grief!....is this a barometer of our adolescent celebrity-centered times?

We need a solid, valid standard of values, not this B.S.

Posted by: CharlesGriffith1 | July 23, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

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