Social networking phenomenon Facebook recently announced that it has now reached the two billion active user milestone, cementing its position as the world’s biggest social media platform.
The announcement was made by company CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerburg, who posted the below update:
Facebook has pulled away from its nearest competitors, with YouTube being the next most popular platform, with 1.5 billion monthly users. In terms of social media, its nearest rival is Instagram (which boasts 700 million active users) and Twitter (with 328 million).
However, the gap between Facebook and messaging apps is much closer, with Messenger and WhatsApp both boasting 1.2 billion users. WeChat has 889 million active users, and Snapchat has registered a user base of around 255 million.
Apart from Google-owned YouTube, the next most successful apps – WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram – are all owned by Facebook. Messenger was a product of the company, but the Californian enterprise was involved in some huge deals to purchase a number of other companies, including Instagram for $1bn (£784m) in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19bn (£14.8bn).
The social site was created 13 years ago in February 2004 at Harvard University by Zuckerberg and other co-founders Chris Hughes, Eduardo Saverin and Dustin Moskovitz. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength to become the most used network on the planet. It reached its first one million users within 10 months of launch, and hit the one billion mark in October 2012. Just five years on, it has doubled that number.
The company has not just focused on messaging and social media, but has also invested plenty of time and money into other projects, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, having bought virtual reality enterprise Oculus back in 2014 for two billion dollars (£1.5bn).
Its focus in the last few years has been influenced by the developing world. It has optimised its mobile app for use on cheap smartphones and low-bandwidth connections in order to reach emerging markets in areas such as Asia and South America. This has helped the company attract more than 746 million new users in these areas. Furthermore, Facebook has also launched a project that looks at releasing solar-powered drones into the atmosphere to provide internet access to the more remote areas of the world.
Despite being around for some time now, the network is showing no signs of stopping, as it is growing at the fastest rate since 2012 at 17%. Furthermore, its current user base is not dropping off, with 66% of its regular, active monthly users returning to some form of the site on a daily basis, in comparison to 55% of users when the site first reached one billion users.