That I have been questioning Facebook's efforts to manage the privacy of their users comes as no surprise to my readers. Facebook's survival is inexorably tied to the data it collects on users to "make the user experience more meaningful". In turn it collects targeting fees from its advertisers.

Facebook can't help itself. It is addicted to data collection, often sidestepping and overrunning privacy constraints.

In July, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook hit a milestone with 500 million active users. Frankly, I don't believe the self reported numbers.

At the end of 2009, Facebook reported 350 active million users. The time-line looks like this ....

100 million : August 26, 2008
150 million : Jan 7, 2009 (134 days)
200 million : April 8, 2009 (91 days)
250 million : July 15, 2009 (98 days)
300 million : September 15, 2009 (62 days)
350 million : December 1, 2009 (77 days)
500 million : July 2010 (242 days)

It appears that Facebook added 150 active million users or roughly 42% of its 12/1/2009 base in just eight months. Really? Who's auditing the numbers?

Consider the following reported numbers...

In the second quarter of 2009 there were 444 million broadband users globally. Factoring global broadband usage increases and mobile access, Facebook would need to include almost every global broadband connection as an active user. Really?

Seventy percent (70%) of Facebook's active users are outside the United States.

There are approximately 250 million people over the age of twelve in the US. A user needs to be thirteen to register on Facebook. Facebook claims sixty percent of the US population (150 million) over the age of twelve that are active registered users. Really? Please define "active".

User growth should be petering out as will revenue. Self reported annual revenue of $800 million suggests Facebook earns an unimpressive one dollar and sixty cents ($1.60) per user.

How much hype and Kool-aid will we continue to swallow?

1 comment:

Shawn Riegsecker said...


Are you sure they define "users" as people? They may be defining users in a general sense and consider business accounts to be "users". If you define a "user" as an entity and it includes businesses and organizations, they could get to the number they're quoting.