Back in September 2011 Facebook claimed that it had surpassed 800 million users. That’s a lot. But even though there are signs that growth has slowed down or even stopped in the USA and UK, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for the behemoth social network to reach the 1 billion mark for users by August of this year.
Gregory Lyons, a senior analyst at iCrossing, used linear regression on date from 2008 until the end of 2011 to extrapolate the numbers and create this chart:
From here we can see that if the rate of growth of Facebook user numbers stays much the same for the next year, then the billionth Facebook user will create their profile some time around August 2012.
Lyons acknowledges the fact that the UK and USA may have hit some sort of Facebook saturation point, at which the number of registered users in those countries has plateaued, but in his blog he points to other nations yet with the potential to boost the figures:
“Both are large countries with millions of potential users who have yet to sign up to Facebook… With only 3% of India’s population on Facebook and 16% of Brazil’s (compared to 49% of America’s population or 47% of the UK’s population) countries such as these will clearly contribute heavily to Facebook’s continued growth.”
It does beg the question, what will happen when the billionth user signs up? On October 31st 2011, the world welcomed it’s 7 billionth living person to the population based on birthrate demographics. Given the fact that Facebook is a digitally organised machine, it seems possible to me that an account can be flagged as being the exact one that brings the total number of users to 1 billion.
I wonder if Zuckerberg has anything up his sleeve for this occasion. A serious carrot to dangle would be a cash reward – which I’m sure he can afford… But would that cause a delay in people signing up, with each waiting to be the 1 billionth person?