February 4th 2004 was a day that changed the world and the way we communicate. What is now the largest social networking site was created…Facebook.
Back then, people laughed at the thought of a new challenger to the Goliaths of social media: Myspace and Bebo. Originally created for Harvard University students and for educational purposes only, its popularity soon rocketed sky high. Fast forward two years and creator Mark Zuckerberg rejected an offer from both Google and Yahoo for a rumoured $2bn.
By mid-2006 to early 2007 the Guardian reported that Facebook had 30 million users, making it the largest social channel with an educational focus - however this number was still dwarfed by Myspace’s reported 100 million users.
That same year, Facebook made the decision to transform from an educational network to a social media network which encouraged its user base to grow exponentially, and saw the decline of MySpace and its millions.
Image Source: Facebook newsroom graphic
Based on the graph above, Facebook’s monthly users grew by more than 1bn in the space of five years, which is an incredible achievement. It caused its social competitor Myspace to almost go out of business and radically change its focus. Compared to Facebook’s monthly users of 1.2bn in 2013, Myspace last recorded a monthly user total of 50m on 23rd January 2015.
Facebook has since invested and taken over various other social media networks but the most notable was the picture sharing site Instagram which it bought in 2012 for $1bn. The latest recorded tally of Facebook users from Statista is just short of 1.5bn users which towers over Twitter’s 316m active users and Snapchat’s 200m users.
But all that isn’t why Facebook made the news recently. For the very first time, on 27th August 2015 at 21:33, Facebook reached this milestone:
[Image taken from Facebook]
That’s the equivalent of 1 in every 7 people being on Facebook at the same time! If that didn’t blow your socks off then consider that there were more people logged onto Facebook than there are in the whole of Europe, which has a population of roughly 743m people, and more than the whole of North and South America combined (951m people). Just imagine all of those Pirate Kings and Farmville invites!
This just proves how much of an impact social media has on our everyday lives and, thanks to one geeky guy who spearheaded this network, we can now talk to friends and family members from all four corners of the world and upload our latest silly selfie all at the same time. If you think about it, that’s truly mind blowing.