Facebook is bigger than the whole Internet was in 2004

Facebook already has more users than the whole Internet had in 2004, the year the social networking giant was founded.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Just two weeks ago, at its 2011 f8 developer conference, Facebook confirmed it had 800 million active users. Let's put that into perspective for you: there were only 757 million people using the Internet worldwide in 2004, according to Internet World Stats.

Why did Royal Pingdom, an uptime monitoring service, choose the year 2004 as the year of comparison? Well, many tend to forget that Facebook is just a seven-year-old company: it was founded in February 2004.

The firm points out Facebook's active user base is:

  • 38 percent of the entire current Internet population
  • 87 percent of the Internet population of Asia
  • 168 percent of the Internet population of Europe
  • 294 percent of the Internet population of North America
  • 370 percent of the Internet population of Latin America
  • 674 percent of the Internet population of Africa
  • 1,167 percent of the Internet population of the Middle East
  • 3,757 percent of the Internet population of Oceania / Australia

After Facebook passes 1 billion users, the next milestone will be eclipsing India, and then China. If Facebook was a country, it would be the world's third largest, by population. We're not talking Internet population here (as is the case in the bulleted list above) – we're comparing Facebook's population to a country's total population.

Many websites only report the cumulative number of members that sign up for their service, which does not take into account inactive accounts. Facebook's user count metric is much better as it is defined as a user who has logged in within the last 30 days. While this does not eliminate the issue of one person having multiple accounts, it still makes Facebook's numbers more impressive.

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