Yesterday, Facebook passed the one billion active user mark. Alexis takes a close look at the growth numbers:
Facebook’s really hyper growth did not take off until August of 2008, when Facebook had something like 33 million US users, 25 million of whom were between 18 and 34 years old. Eventually, and maybe sometime in the not too-distant future, Facebook may have a hard time finding people with Internet access and socialization habits that make them easy to capture. But for now, Facebook keeps adding another 500,000 users a day, each and every day, right through every privacy debacle and user-interface snafu. Has growth slowed a bit since 2011, when the company was adding almost 800,000 people a day? Sure. But don’t mistake deceleration for contraction.
Adam Clark Estes summarizes the other news from Facebook:
Facebook announced Wednesday that it was rolling a new service in 20 countries that would enable users to promote their status updates — for a price. Starting soon, there will be a new button on each of your status updates that allows you to push that specific update out to more friends. To be more specific, it essentially juices the post’s Edgerank, the algorithm that controls which posts show up when and where, and more or less turns you into an advertisers for your life. It costs $7. Every time.
Josh Constine has mixed feelings about the new feature:
Facebook is becoming a critical one-to-many communication medium for people. Often we’re just sharing fun things that we don’t desperately need eyeballs on, but other times a better news feed position could really help. If I’m trying to sell all my possessions before moving to Thailand, Promoted Posts could be a cost-effective way of making sure more friends know about my garage sale. Raising money for charity or looking for bone marrow donors are some other clearly positive applications.
But as with anything on a sandbox service like Facebook, the success and impact of Promoted Posts will depend on how people use it. A friend with a trust fund could promote every post he publishes just because he has the money. In that way, the feature could distort the news feed’s meritocracy, where posts that get lots of likes and comments are shown to more people.
Meanwhile, David Haglund criticizes Facebook’s new ad (above). The message:
Facebook executives wants you to think of their company—which is, of course, just an immensely successful social networking website, and not the first—as something utterly basic and necessary to your life, something you take for granted, and, crucially, use to do other things (like work, for instance). The various other analogies—bridges and games and so on, even, somewhat troublingly, “a great nation”—amplify and add to the Facebook brand, but the underlying message: Facebook is the furniture of your life.