One billion in a day on Facebook? No big deal

Facebook logo and people silhouetted with their phones Image copyright Reuters

How time flies when you're wasting your life poking around on social media.

It was way back in October 2012 when Facebook first announced it had one billion users using the site at least once a month - and now, just under three years later, the site has managed to pull in that many in a single day.

The question is how can it continue to grow? Surely it will plateau at some point, right? Yes - but we're a long way off that. One billion is just the beginning.

I've just come back from a meeting at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, to discuss some of the projects Facebook has in the pipeline. On the wall, a map of the world highlighting countries with lots of Facebook users.

Sure, the US and Europe are almost at peak Facebook.

But there are huge gaps. Africa, much of Asia, some of Latin America.

That's where Facebook is focused on now. To gain users here it is investing in new ways to get people online.

Last month we heard about the British-designed drone it'll soon start trialling, designed to give connectivity to areas that currently have none.

Local resistance

But this march to world domination won't be without its battles.

Facebook has been expanding its Internet.org project around the world, but it has been met with disgruntlement from companies where a technology community has already existed.

In India, local companies were annoyed that Facebook's offer of free mobile internet hampered competition, because only certain services involved in Facebook's scheme were free. If you weren't part of Internet.org, then tough.

That backlash has meant a few changes. Users of Internet.org can choose which services they want to receive, and any company can now make an app that works on the internet.org platform.

But still, it's a sign that what Facebook thinks is good for the internet won't necessarily sit well with everyone.

In the parts of the world where Facebook is already well-established, the company is looked upon with intense suspicion thanks to the wealth of data it holds, and what exactly is being done with it.

Milestone... for today

Facebook's size will soon no longer just be about how many people are logging in to the social network, either.

During my quick tour - more about that in the coming weeks and months - I saw the firm's latest efforts in virtual reality and artificial intelligence, as well as the more "boring" (to use a harsh word) stuff like data centre infrastructure, in which Facebook is a pioneer.

And it was just Wednesday when I wrote about Facebook M, the company's new digital assistant.

Soon a billion people using Facebook in one day will be nothing out of the ordinary. We'll look back on today and laugh at how insignificant today's milestone feels.

Whether that's a good or bad thing, I'll leave up to you.

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

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