It has being quite a while since technology watchers who can also predict trends with a reasonable degree of accuracy had being getting things wrong about Facebook. One such wrong prediction is that the growth of social networking site Facebook would soon plateau, that is, stop growing in terms of active users. But Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, and his Facebook team clearly had different ideas about the issue. He recently announced on his Facebook page that Facebook had hit a new milestone. it reached 1 billion active users in a day on Monday, implying that on Monday, the 24th of August 2015, 1 out of 7 human beings on earth logged into Facebook.
Facebook has come along way since it was launched in February 2004 by Zuckerberg with his college roommate, Eduardo Saverin, in Havard university. The service was initially restricted to Harvard students only, but was later expanded to other universities in the Boston area, and gradually to other universities in Canada and the United States and some big companies. It became a worldwide phenomenon in 2006 when it was opened to anybody over the age of 13 with a valid email address.
In a way, the news did not come as a surprise because Facebook has being growing consistently and steadily and only recently in the second quarter of this year, daily average active user stats showed an impressive 968 million people using the social networking site while the total number of active users stood at 1.49 billion active users per month. And with a figure of 844 million daily active users on mobile phones alone, nobody is betting against Facebook not reaching the same milestone of 1 billion people actively logging into Facebook from only smartphones and tablets daily.
It can be scary to think that a company so entrenched in our lives still wants more of the world. Its take-overs and acquisitions of small and medium sized start-ups are legendary. It is now rated among the 9 most acquisitive tech firms in the world today. who can forget the $19 billion dollars it paid to acquire whatsapp last year? That amount was the second highest any tech firm had ever paid to buy over another firm. Other facebook acquisitions include the $1 billion it paid to buy instagram in 2012; $2 billion it paid for Occulus VR last year; $47.5 million for Friendfeed in 2009, which is considered by many to be Facebook’s first major acquisition. Zuckerberg also paid the Winklevoss twins (the duo claimed Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from them) $31 million in 2008 to buy ConnectU and end the long ligation between them.
The one acquisition that really impacted on me the most was the acquisition of Snaptu for $70 million in 2011. Snaptu was a mobile app that can run on any kind of internet-enabled mobile. Snaptu had everything; games, news websites, Facebook, utilities like calculator and others. I thoght Facebook will make it better, instead it offered Snaptu’s Facebook interface as a standalone app and killed the other features of the app.
The buying of startups is obviously not the end game for Facebook. Its corporate social responsibility is up to par with the best among global corporations. It is always pushing the frontiers of science and technolgy with some innovative products designed to make life a little more interesting for everybody.
Reaching 1 billion active users in a day since it was launched 11 years ago is no mean feat. From where I am sitting, reaching the milestone of 2 billion active users daily would not take it over a decade. The market is still largely virgin in most of Africa and large swathes of Asia where the world’s poor reside. Once they get internet access, be rest assured they will also connect with friends and family through Facebook.