The most famous quote from the Facebook movie The Social Network - "A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars" - has become a phrase born in fiction that has nevertheless resonated through mainstream cultures as the company's raison d'être. But the site's real currency is active users and, aside from cash concerns, that one billion user number has been in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's sights for years. Yesterday, Zuckerberg announced that the site has finally, officially crossed the one billion user mark.
The one billionth user milestone has been anticipated for some time, but the reality of it is still a staggering achievement in the history of Internet companies.
"This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month," Zuckerberg said in a statement on the site. "If you're reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you. Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life. I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too."
Although the site's user base has grown steadily since its inception in 2004, the public didn't really start paying attention to its user numbers until the site hit the 500 million user mark back in 2010, boasting more site members than the entire population of the United States. At this point, the site's user base is now approaching the populations of the world's most populous countries such as China and India at 1.3 billion and 1.2, respectively.
According to Facebook, the exact day the site passed the one billion user mark was two weeks ago on 14 September, at 12:45 Pacific time. Facebook naysayers will inevitably opine that the site's numbers are likely boosted by fake and abandoned accounts, but for Facebook's part the announced numbers are meant to represent active users who regularly log onto the site.
However, Facebook itself recently admitted that roughly 8.7 per cent of its user accounts may, in fact, be questionable. Interestingly, around the same time that the site logged its one billionth user, the site also engaged in a massive purge of fake accounts, perhaps in anticipation of this very announcement.
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