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Dec 18, 2008

CLIP: Facebook Growth Explodes, Site Reaches 140 Million Active Users

Ed: Is social network counter-cyclical?

If there's any doubt that Facebook is rapidly becoming the next big thing in social networks, you only need look at their recent statistics. According to new reports, in recent weeks Facebook is growing at a rate of 600,000 users each day, up from 300,000 to 400,000 users per day earlier this quarter. The company is also reporting that, as of today, they have reached 140 million active users.

The new data being reported on Inside Facebook is based on their estimations, and not any actual release from the company. That being said, the Inside Facebook site notes that the 600,000 users per day is only a roundabout number - the true number could possibly be even higher: perhaps even as high as 700,000 users per day.

If Facebook continues at this rate, by the end of December they could add a total of 20 million new users. By March, the company could then reach 200 million active users - which would mean they doubled their userbase in less than a year's time. The majority of this growth (70%) is taking place outside the U.S.

To handle this growth, a poster on Slashdot notes that "the Facebook engineering team has been tweaking its use of memcached, and says it can now handle 200,000 UDP requests per second. Facebook has detailed its refinements to memcached, which it hopes will be included in the official memcached repository. For now, their changes have been released to github."

Facebook's Users Are Active and Engaged

Facebook did release some figures of their own today that show their users are actively using the site and engaged with the content. Here's what they reported:

General Growth

  • More than 140 million active users
  • More than half of Facebook users are outside of college
  • The fastest growing demographic is those 25 years old and older

User Engagement

  • Average user has 100 friends on the site
  • 2.6 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide)
  • More than 13 million users update their statuses at least once each day
  • More than 2.5 million users become fans of Pages each day


  • More than 700 million photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 4 million videos uploaded each month
  • More than 15 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) shared each month
  • More than 2 million events created each month
  • More than 19 million active user groups exist on the site

International Growth

  • More than 35 translations available on the site, with more than 60 in development
  • More than 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States


  • More than 660,000 developers and entrepreneurs from more than 180 countries
  • More than 52,000 applications currently available on Facebook Platform
  • 140 new applications added per day
  • More than 95% of Facebook members have used at least one application built on Facebook Platform

Also worth noting is the data on mobile users released last month which revealed that the company has 15 million active mobile users using their site, having grown from only 5 million at the beginning of the year. Those aren't additional users, but are a subset of the 140 million who use the site from their mobile phones and other devices. We can't help but think those numbers were also aided by the September launch of Facebook's iPhone app, version 2.0. The new release, a huge improvement over the original, managed to pack in nearly every feature from social network including wall posts, status updates, the news feed, photos and more, all from the simplified iPhone interface.

Management Shakeup At LinkedIn: Reid Hoffman Takes Back CEO Role, Jeff Weiner As Interim President

Big changes at fast growing professional social network LinkedIn this afternoon. Founder Reid Hoffman has retakenthe CEO role, which he relinquished to former Intuit exec Dan Nye in early 2007. Nye is leaving LinkedIn in January, although the company says he will stay on as an advisor.

Former Yahoo executive Jeff Weiner is joining the company full time as interim President. Weiner is currently an Executive-in-Residence for venture capital firms firms Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, and he will maintain a loose relationship with the firms, he says. Weiner left his position at Yahoo in the early summer.

Last week the company grabbed a Google executive, Deep Nishar, to take over Hoffman’s current role as head of the products group at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has raised $103 million in venture capital to date and has 11.2 million monthly worldwide visitors according to Comscore (October 2008).

What’s not clear is why all this is happening. LinkedIn says their revenues continue to grow dramatically - up 900% over the last two years (although they won’t say what their actual revenue is). When Hoffman stepped down as CEO in 2007 he said the company needed a different leader to grow it further. Now, he says Nye has done that job and it’s time for him to take back the reins.

The addition of Weiner is also quirky, and may explain the changes. Weiner was likely expecting a CEO role as his next job. He’s now second to Hoffman. Perhaps the company is using the interim period to see how he can handle himself leading the company. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Weiner take the CEO job at LinkedIn sometime in 2009, or else leave the company.

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