Facebook has over 425 million mobile users

Facebook has over 425 million monthly active mobile users as of December 31, 2011. More than half the number of users that access Facebook via the desktop now access Facebook via mobile.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

As part of its filing for an initial public offering today, Facebook revealed it now has 425 million monthly active users. This has been confirmed with an update on the Facebook Fact Sheet page, which now reads "We had more than 425 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products in December 2011." This is the official number, and it represents 50.3 percent of Facebook's total user base of 845 million monthly active users.

In other words, 50.3 percent of Facebook's total user base of 845 million monthly active users accesses the service from a mobile device. That number has been slowly growing towards the 50 percent mark, and now it has finally passed it. When Facebook last reported it had 350 million mobile users in September 2011, the fraction was at just 43.75 percent.

The numbers come with this little detail from Facebook:

The numbers of monthly active users (MAUs) and daily active users (DAUs) presented in this prospectus are based on internal company data and we use these numbers in managing our business. We believe that our MAU and DAU numbers are reasonable estimates, and we take measures to improve their accuracy, such as eliminating known fictitious or duplicate accounts. There are inherent challenges in measuring usage across large online and mobile populations around the world. For example, there may be individuals who have multiple Facebook accounts in violation of our terms of service, despite our efforts to detect and suppress such behavior. As another example, applications on certain mobile devices may automatically contact our servers for regular updates with no user action involved, and this activity may cause our system to count the user associated with such a device as an active user of Facebook. We estimate that less than 5% of our estimate of worldwide DAUs as of December 31, 2011 could have resulted from this type of automatic mobile activity and that this type of activity had an even smaller effect on our estimate of worldwide MAUs. The impact of this automatic activity on our metrics may vary by geography, as mobile usage varies in different regions of the world. In addition, our data regarding the geographic location of our users is based on a number of factors, such as IP address, which may not always accurately reflect user location. We regularly review and may adjust our processes for calculating these metrics to improve their accuracy. In addition, our MAU and DAU estimates will differ from estimates published by third parties due to differences in methodology. For example, some third parties do not count mobile users.

It's important to note that not all mobile users necessarily view the social network from both mobile and desktop. Of course many view it just from the desktop, but there is also a growing number that only view it from mobile. As such, the percentage could one day surpass 100 percent, because it's not really an accurate comparison. Until Facebook breaks down how many users are accessing the service from desktop, mobile, as well as both desktop and mobile, we won't be able to compare the two numbers exactly as we'd like.

Facebook has said (or at least implied) many times that mobile is a big focus for the company. Mobile is of course the future of the whole technology industry, and Menlo Park knows this.

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