Posted February 16, 2009 11:53 pm by

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Some of us measure our popularity in the number of Facebook friends we have. Facebook measures its popularity in the number of “active users” it has—and that number hit 175,000,000 on Friday the 13th, according to a Tweet from Dave Morin of Facebook.

This comes 39 days after the site reached 150 million active users early last month. While from some reports, Facebook was adding 600,000 new active users per day in early December, the longer term average was far below that (the dates here, except for the date on the final report, are taken from CNET stories):

  • From August 26 to November 3, the site added 20 million users in 69 days, or about 290,000 per day.
  • From November 3 to December 18, the site added another 20 million users in 45 days, or a little under 450,000 users per day.
  • From December 18 to January 7, Facebook garnered 10 million new members in 20 days, or 500,000 new users a day.
  • From January 7 to February 13, the site added 25 million new members in about 37 days, or over 675,000 new members per day.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are the same stats in graphic format:

CNET reports that most of this growth comes from outside the US—and comes with a price. “Server power is expensive, especially overseas,” says CNET. Plus, a lot of these international users generate far less advertising revenue for Facebook than their US counterparts. And overall, the site is still struggling with monetization, with a recent blow setting its projected overall valuation at $3.7B (down from $15B).

Can they find the missing step in everyone’s favorite formula to make money from social networks in time to capitalize on their growth? (You know—step one: set up a social network. Step two: some magic happens. Step three: profit. They use that one in science all the time.) Or will their popularity be their undoing as more and more “expensive” users join?

  • There Is No Doubt…. Face Book Was The Best Community For Any Thing Like Friends OR Business….

  • Those are mind boggling figures! 675,000 new members per day from January 7 to February 13 is absolutely amazing. But I must admit facebook is a incredible site which is only getting better as word spreads. Soon that figure will be up around 200M active users in no time.

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  • I read that Facebook changes their TOS recently so that they now own the persons data forever even if the person closes the facebook account.Have you heard about this?

    Here´s more info:

    Tom Lindstrom’s last blog post..How To Earn Money Reading Books Online

  • Wow. These are quite insane stats. I doubt that Facebook will be able to sustain this type of growth. And yes, this will be its undoing. As it gets more expensive for Facebook to maintain itself, it will try even harder to capitalize on the advertising potential.

    As one of the first adopters of Facebook, I have been horrified by many of the changes. And I know that many once-loyal users have stopped using Facebook because of how it has changed.

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  • Figure sound great, but it must be a burden now for FB as their cost are soaring whereas their revenue are growing not as such a rapid pace. Maybe there last move regarding TOS means a more aggressive stance on monetization/use of users’ content.

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  • Jordan McCollum

    @Tom: However, that clause has been in the TOS for some time now; the only update was that if you close your account, you leave your information. The original article in the Consumerist has several pertinent updates and statements from FB:

  • Pingback: Facebook Hits 175M Active Users « Social Networking and New Markets()

  • Just a person

    Yes, and that is 175, 000 people they have the right to “keep their information forever” I know it is a choice to sign up but when they change the rules half way through and it is retroactive I have a problem with that.

  • The rate of Facebook’s growth is astounding. Do you think there could come a point when basically all internet users are active on at least one social networking site (aka these sites will be the face of the internet)? If so, how will these sites survive? How many people actually click on those annoying ads that come up on the side of the screen when you’re trying to do whatever you do on a social networking site? Will people begin to ignore these completely?

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  • Jamie

    As a middle school teacher, I am noticing that the facebook line graph is wrong. There is no title to the x-axis which makes me question what it is they are measuring the millions of users with…? A line graph graphs time but with intervals of +25, the title couldn’t be days (which was my guess), or hours or even years.

    We all can see that facebook is getting larger and larger even though their way of showcasing it is flawed.

    Sorry to not touch on the subject matter at hand but with my math mentality, I couldn’t get passed the graph! 🙂

    (If this posts twice, I apologize…The first one isn’t showing up for me)

  • Jordan McCollum

    The x-axis is the independent variable, which was virtually always time the last time I took statistics and calculus. I thought that was abundantly clear without a label—I mean, in an article discussing the growth of Facebook, I don’t have to say Facebook grew “over time,” and when reading such an article I’d have to assume that we’re not going to see a graph of Facebook growth as a function of days of sunshine in Kennowick.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying the days “don’t match up” to, since they match up to each data point provided in this article, starting with the date FB hit 100 million, August 26th. Unfortunately, labeling an x-axis with dates like “August 26th,” “November 11th,” etc., is neither helpful nor particularly meaningful. Dates are routinely coded as seen above. I tried to suppress the admittedly-confusing labels on the x-axis, but the software was exceedingly unhelpful.

    However, if the interpretation of this graph is unclear, I submit that you’re overthinking it. It’s a line graph.