Facebook: from Harvard dorm to global domination

The California social networking giant, Facebook turns 15 in February

Afp February 01, 2019
Besides this fact, Zuckerberg does not doubt Facebook’s power of improving people’s lives and transforming the world. The new mission statement highlights this. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO: Here are some key facts about Facebook, the California social networking giant which turns 15 in February:

Facebook had some 2.3 billion monthly active users around the world at the end of December, the key metric for the company. Of the total, 947 million users were in the Asia-Pacific region, 381 million in Europe and 242 million in North America.

The company offers no country-by-country breakdown but private analysts estimate that India has the largest number followed by the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil.

Facebook is blocked or restricted in a handful of countries including China and North Korea.

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An estimated 2.7 billion people use Facebook's "family" of services including Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and its core social network, based on the latest update.

For the full year 2018, Facebook delivered a profit of $22 billion on revenue of $55 billion, maintaining a trend of steady growth since its public share offering in 2012.

Advertising, which is in most cases targeted to specific groups of users, made up some 98 per cent of Facebook revenues last year and mobile advertising represented the overwhelming share of those dollars. Roughly half of Facebook revenues come from North America.

Facebook's market capitalisation at the end of January was some $480 billion, making it one of the most valuable companies in the world.

According to research firm eMarketer, Facebook's share of the global digital ad market will be 20.5 per cent of an overall $327.28 billion spent in 2019.

The company set aside $1 billion for taxes in the fourth quarter, giving it an effective tax rate of 14 per cent.

Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, 34, is the undisputed leader as chairman and chief executive. He controls some 60 per cent of voting shares through a dual-class stock structure even though he holds a minority of the equity.

Sheryl Sandberg, a former Google executive who also worked in the office of the US treasury secretary, is the chief operating officer.

The number of employees for the Menlo Park, California, Titan as of December 31 was 35,587, an increase of 42 per cent year-on-year as a result of a hiring spree to help monitor the platform to weed out abuse, misinformation, and manipulation.

Zuckerberg is paid a symbolic salary of $1 annually but his stake in Facebook has made him one of the world's wealthiest people, worth some $62 billion.

The leading social network is struggling to contain a series of scandals over data protection and privacy and deal with abuse, hate speech, and manipulation. But that's not its only challenges.

Facebook is no longer the preferred social network for the youngest age groups, at least in the United States.

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According to a Pew Research Center survey last year, 51 per cent of US teens ages 13 to 17 use Facebook, compared with 72 per cent for Facebook-owned Instagram and 69 per cent who are on Snapchat.

A report by eMarketer said Snapchat is drawing youths away from Facebook, predict a drop in the 18-24 age group for Facebook.

Facebook appears to be using Instagram to connect more with younger users and has also been ramping up its services on WhatsApp and Messenger.

Oculus, the virtual reality headset maker acquired by Facebook in 2014, could be part of "the next major computing platform," according to Zuckerberg.

Facebook's hardware efforts also include the Portal video calling device launched in 2018.


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