Facebook turns 10: the world’s largest social network in numbers

Updated 4 February 2014, 12:41 AEST

By Monique Ross

Read staggering statistics on Facebook users, who have clicked the ‘like’ button 3.4 trillion times.

Facebook is today marking 10 years since it went live in a Harvard dorm room, with boss Mark Zuckerberg hailing the “incredible journey” that has seen the social media site become a part of life for millions of people around the world.

Conceived as a way to connect students, it now boasts 1.23 billion monthly users, or about one-sixth of the world’s population.

Those users have made 201.6 billion friend connections and clicked the ‘like button’ 3.4 trillion times.

Along the way Facebook has been involved in a lengthy legal fight between co-founders and embroiled in concerns over privacy, but Mr Zuckerberg remains positive.

“It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it,” he said in a statement.

Take a look at some of the staggering facts and figures surrounding the world’s most popular social networking site.

1.23 billion users


Facebook had around 1 million members by the end of its first year, and now lays claim to some 1.23 billion monthly users – 945 million of which access the site on mobile devices.

Facebook does not release detailed user statistics but says around 81 per cent of its users are outside the US and Canada.

Key Facebook dates

  • thefacebook launched on February 4, 2004
  • It reached 1 million users in December 2004
  • The social network became Facebook in September 2005.
  • It was opened for anyone to join in September 2006
  • Facebook’s iPhone app was launched in September 2008
  • The ‘like’ button was introduced in 2009
  • Facebook reached 500 million users in July 2010
  • It reached 1 billion users in October 2012

According to research firm eMarketer, the site is used by 46.6 per cent of the population in North America, 35.7 per cent in Western Europe, 29.9 per cent in Latin America, 24.9 per cent in Central and Eastern Europe, 11 per cent in the Middle East and Africa and 7.1 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region.

Facebook says 9 million Australians use the site every day, including 7.3 million who log in via mobile.

On a monthly basis, the number of Australian users rises to 12 million.

It seems like a lot, but those figures pale in comparison with usage rates in other nations.

eMarketer says there are 146.8 million users in the US, followed by India (84.9 million users), Brazil (61.2 million users), and Indonesia (60.5 million users).

Who’s logging in, and why?

Facebook is used by 71 per cent of all online American adults and 73 per cent of all those aged between 12 and 17,according to the Pew Research Centre.

That compares to 22 per cent of US adults using LinkedIn, 21 per cent using Pinterest, 18 per cent using Twitter and 17 per cent having an Instagram account.

Pew found 84 per cent of online Americans in the 18-29 age bracket use Facebook, as do 45 per cent of those over 65.

Its initial core base of teens and university students has expanded, and Facebook is now used by people in all age groups.

Facebook user dislikes

Young users still make up the majority of Facebook members, but some research suggests the site is struggling to remain appealing to youth.

An iStrategyLabs study of US users found Facebook has lost 3 million teenagers since 2011, which equates to a 25 per cent drop.

Meanwhile the site is experiencing a boom in older users, with the number of over-55s up 80 per cent last year.

“People joke that for the teen, Facebook isn’t cool when your mum is on it,” Lou Kerner, founder of the Social Internet Fund, told the AFP news agency.

“I think it’s not even your mum any more, now it’s also your grandmother.”

According to Pew, users especially like photos and videos from friends, with 47 per cent saying that is a major reason they use the site.

People also appreciate the ability to share with many people at once (46 per cent cite that as a major reason), updates from others (39 per cent cite that), and humorous content (39 per cent).

The most common dislike about the site, according to Pew, is when people share too much personal information.

Friends and likes

Pew says half of all adult users have more than 200 friends in their networks.

Among adult users, the average number of friends is 338, and the median number of friends is 200.

Facebook friend counts

Younger users tend to have significantly larger friend networks than older users: 27 per cent of 18-29 year old users have more than 500 friends in their network, while 72 per cent of users aged over 65 have fewer than 100 friends.

Facebook says the ‘like’ button has been clicked 3.4 trillion times since its introduction in 2009.

According to the Pew Research Centre, 44 per cent of users ‘like’ content posted by their friends at least once a day.

The centre says 31 per cent comment on other people’s photos on a daily basis, 19 per cent send private messages on a daily basis, and 10 per cent update their status daily.

But not everyone is rushing to share information. The centre says 25 per cent of US users say they never change their status.

Surging staff and profit jumps

Facebook started out with just five founders – Mr Zuckerberg, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin, who would go on to sue Mr Zuckerberg after seeing his stake in the company dramatically reduced.

As of December 31 last year, the company employed 6,337 staff.

The company had a calamitous initial public offering in May 2012 and saw its share price slump by half.

But over the past year its stock has hit new highs.

Profit for the full year 2013 jumped to $US1.5 billion from just $US53 million in 2012.

Revenues, mostly from online advertising, increased to $US7.87 billion from $US5.1 billion.

Facebook accounted for a 5.7 per cent share of all global digital ad revenues last year and 18.44 per cent of worldwide mobile ad spending, according to eMarketer.

Over 1 million active marketers were on Facebook as of December, and the network had 25 million small business pages in November.


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