Facebook at 1 billion users: The mother of big data problems?

Summary:Facebook has hit the saturation point. What the company does with those 1 billion users---and all the data they cough up every second---will be far more important than landing the next billion people.

Facebook hit the 1 billion user milestone and the company has released a bevy of statistics for the occasion.

  • 219 billion photos uploaded (excluding deleted ones) and 265 billion including them.
  • 17 billion location tagged posts and check-ins.
  • 600 million mobile users.
  • An average user age of 22.

But all those stats show is near-total saturation. Future growth and monetization are big question marks.

What Facebook may need to answer those questions is the mother of all big data projects. Facebook has so much information on people. It knows damn near everything about you. Yet Facebook isn't a direct marketing powerhouse. Ad revenue is nice, but could be so much more.

TechLines Live Webcast: Big Data Debunked -- Finding the Data Signals

Facebook has the same problem many enterprises have: Too much information and no clue what data is most important. Facebook should be a cash cow. The secret sauce lies somewhere in all that user data. Facebook has to find it in a way that doesn't annoy users.

It's a fascinating conundrum. One thing is certain though---1 billion users is a nice accomplishment. What Facebook decides to do with those users---and the data they cough up every second---will be much more important.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Enterprise, TechLines

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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