San Francisco — The Inside Facebook blog posted some astonishing growth figures this week for the popular social networking site. For sure, Facebook is growing faster than the population in China! Just before two weeks Facebook has reached the 130 million user landmark. According to their statistics Facebook alone is showing growth of more than 500,000 members a day
According to Inside Facebook, Facebook has been growing at 3-4 hundred thousand users per day during the fourth quarter. The report highlights a recent increase of rate in the already meteoric rise in usage during this quarter.
“If Facebook maintains this rate, it could add up to 20 million new users in December and reach 200 million active users by March,” Justin Smith, editor of Inside Facebook writes.
Perhaps the truly remarkable fact is that more than 70% of Facebook’s users are from outside the United States. Brandee Barker, a spokesperson for the company, credits this rise in foreign users to a program begun at the beginning of the year to add translations to Facebook.
The program was a wiki-like effort in which non-English speakers could contribute their translations to Facebook content and menus. No one person could make changes. Every contribution had to be an agreed upon by multiple contributors.
That really helped them to leverage their user base, and now they are seeing a large growth in international users,” said Ray Valdes, analyst with Gartner. He thinks this method of letting users handle the translation can be used elsewhere. “Certainly other sites should do it. Wikipedia was the poster child for that and Facebook has adapted it to their scenario. Other companies can adapt it to their requirements as well.”
But what is rather more remarkable that Facebook has commendably managed to keep its systems up and running for its fast-growing membership so well and not suffer any outages that have often plagued fast growing start-ups given that it can take one to two years to open a datacenter during which time it may have added a few hundred million more members.
“They are managing quite well compared to others,” said Valdes. “I have gone to other social networks that had reliability or availability issues, brownouts, blackouts, what have you. With Facebook there are the occasional glitches, but the site seems to function well, even though the error rate has gone up a bit.”
The traffic measurement site Compete shows that Facebook is speedily catching up with MySpace for unique traffic as Facebook grew 69.5 percent this year and MySpace shrunk 14.5 percent this year.
And these are not inactive accounts, either. Smith gave some of the more interesting statistics that include:
- 15 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared each month
- 4 million videos are uploaded each month
- 2.5 million users become fans of Pages each day
- 2 million events created each month
- 19 million active groups exist on the site
Facebook has released an online demographics tool designed to help further explore the site’s growth and latest statistics.