Facebook at 1 billion: Zuckerberg’s ‘infrastructure’ reaches critical mass

Mark Zuckerberg. (Photo by Robert Scoble via Flickr.)

Facebook is marking a major milestone today, with Mark Zuckerberg announcing via status update that the social network has surpassed 1 billion monthly active users.

So what’s next? Zuckerberg gave a few hints in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, in response to the question of what’s possible now that wasn’t at 500 million users.

“Now really everyone can start to rely on us as infrastructure. That’s a pretty big shift,” he says in the piece. “So for the next five or 10 years the question isn’t going to be, does Facebook get to 2 billion or 3 billion? I mean, that’s obviously one question. But the bigger question is, what services can get built now that every company can assume they can get access to knowing who everyone’s friends are. I think that’s going to be really transformative.”

Speaking in Seattle last summer, Zuckerberg went into more detail on this theme, explaining how he sees Facebook providing the underlying social infrastructure for a wider and wider set of industries.

Facebook today also released its first “brand video” in conjunction with the milestone.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Facebook on this milestone! I recall Justin Timberlake stating that “one million isn’t cool. One billion is” when Facebook was in its infancy. Now the company has truly arrived. (Mr. Timberlake has since moved on to bring Myspace back to the billion mark.)

  • guest

    It’s a huge number in a relatively short period of time. But the big question facing them is how will they monetize this, particularly with the largest chunk now being mobile users?

  • guest22

    The 1-billion figure is qualified as active monthly users who check in at least 2x.

    For the sake of argument, let’s presume that 90% of this aggregated Billion, on average, check in 5x per month. With each check in being about 2 minutes.

    That’s 10 minutes of time on site (to be exposed to ads) per month.

    Compare to (in the U.S.) an average person consumes 5 hours per DAY of television.

    Further, the next Billion or two Billion are feature phone users in developing regions (difficult screens and demographics to monetize in any significant way), i.e. the First Billion might be monetizable, but the second Billion probably aren’t.

    Big numbers with miniscule time-on-site, amounts to a hill ‘o beans.

    This Facebook announcement, like the other 3 per week it is spewing forth, is purely theater for propping up it’s stock price (which isn’t working very well today).