Posted by: Patrick | September 18, 2009

UK Telegraph: Facebook reaches 300m users

Facebook has announced that it now has 300 million members worldwide and is making money

By Claudine Beaumont, Technology Editor
Published: 10:34AM BST 16 Sep 2009

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, has announced that the social networking site now has more than 300 million users, and is cash-flow positive Photo: AP

Facebook now has more than 300 million users, making it the world’s most popular social networking site.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, announced the news in a blog post, and confirmed that the company was now cash-flow positive, generating revenue independently of third-party investment and funding.

“Facebook now serves 300 million people across the world. It’s a large number, but the way we think about this is that we’re just getting started on our goal of connecting everyone,” wrote Zuckerberg.

“We’re also succeeding at building Facebook in a sustainable way. Earlier this year, we said we expected to be cash flow positive sometime in 2010, and I’m pleased to share that we achieved this milestone last quarter. This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong, independent service for the long term.”

Facebook has enjoyed a rapid period of growth in the last two months, going from 250 million users in July to 300 million in September. The social networking site is still steadily adding users in major markets, such as Britain and the United States, and is also making inroads in to other territories. The recent launch of Facebook Lite, a stripped-down basic version of the site for users with slow internet connections, hopes to boost membership numbers in areas such as India and South America.

Facebook, which launched five years ago, has attracted more than $700 million of investment during that time. In 2007, Microsoft paid $240 million for a 1.6 per cent stake, valuing the social networking site at around $15 billion.

Zuckerberg pledged to continue investing in new systems and technologies to make Facebook perform faster and grow efficiently, and serve users in “increasingly deep and innovative ways”.

“We face a lot of fun and important challenges that require rethinking the current systems for enabling information flow across the web,” he wrote. “The site we all use every day is built by a relatively small group of the smartest engineers and entrepreneurs.

“In fact, the ratio of Facebook users to Facebook engineers makes it so that every engineer here is responsible for more than one million users. It’s hard to have an impact like that anywhere else.”

Industry analysts believe the milestone could mark a new push by Facebook to dominate the social-networking space, and rival sites, such as the microblogging service Twitter, could be caught up in its wake.

“If Facebook continues to open up its platform and adopt Twitter’s best features, it could spell trouble for the Twitterverse,” Ben Parr, associate editor at social media blog Mashable, told the BBC. “The world’s largest social network is on the warpath.”

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