Facebook has over 845 million users

Facebook has over 845 million monthly active users as of December 31, 2011. Also last month, the social networking giant saw an average of 483 million daily active users.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

As part of its filing for an initial public offering today, Facebook revealed it now has 845 million monthly active users. This has been confirmed with an update on the Facebook Fact Sheet page, which now reads "We had 845 million monthly active users at the end of December 2011." This number could be of course much bigger (and Google actually claims it is) but 845 million is what's official, straight from the horse's mouth. Oh, Facebook also has 425 million mobile users.

Facebook today also released the number of daily active users it has. On average in December 2011, the company saw 483 million daily active users. The company has said before that more than 50 percent of the website's active users log on to Facebook in any given day. Either way, Facebook is now 84.5 percent of the way to its 1 billion milestone. Last month, it was predicted the company would pass the milestone in August 2012, although I argued it would happen sooner. I'm not so sure anymore: it's hard to say when Facebook will announce it has over 1 billion monthly active users.

In September 2011, Facebook confirmed it had over 500 million daily active users and over 800 million monthly active users. In other words, the company added some 45 million monthly active users in four months.

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.

The time between Facebook's 750 million milestone and its 800 million milestone was just two months. It seems like growth is finally starting to taper off for Facebook's monthly active users. It's of course too early to tell, but when the next milestone comes, we'll be able to see if there's a trend.

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