Just when you thought the leading social media giant could not get any bigger, Facebook has announced another important milestone. Several days ago, Mark Zuckerberg declared on his profile that Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users. This means that over 25% of the world’s population is using the social media network.

When 25% means 50%

However, it has been pointed out that Facebook can only reach a maximum of about 3.8 billion people, so one might say that the social media network has already attracted more than half of its possible audience. At the moment, the platform is banned in China and two other nations. Similarly, only a small percentage of people in India have internet access, and according to its terms of use, individuals under 13 cannot register a Facebook account. Put together, all of the above groups make up almost 4 billion people.

Meanwhile, the company is of course celebrating — champagne bottles have already been uncorked. But Facebook is also taking action. It has changed (or as Mark Zuckerberg says – “extended”) its mission statement from “Making the world open and connected” to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”. In the coming months, it will try to highlight the fact that people should be friendly towards each other and stay in positive, healthy relations. It will also send a short thank you message to everyone who wishes another person a happy birthday or uses the “Love” reaction under posts.

There is one king

At the same time it remains to be seen to what ends Facebook will go — and how successful it will be — to reach people who are now unable or unwilling to join this global community. The social media network also has to act on some recent issues, including the spread of fake news, the appropriate handling of racist or other controversial materials, how content is shown in people’s news feed and accusations that the platform can actually hurt people’s relations instead of bringing them closer together.

But the fact remains that Facebook has no real competition in the social media space today. Although its rivals offer great services, they are far behind in scale. It will be interesting to observe how this will change in the coming months and if anybody can threaten the commanding position Facebook has reached.

Our Facebook veterans weigh in

As a sidenote, Facebook’s announcement made us think about how long Okimonians have been using the social media network. We realized we have two true “veterans” at the office! The first one is Helene who joined Facebook in April 2007. The second is Riikka Lavaste, who joined Facebook in February 2008. In other words, Helene started an account less than a year after the social network opened its doors to everyone! And Riikka did this a year and a half after Facebook’s “opening”.

Both of them have some memories related to those times. Back then, Helene was doing business connected to social media: “We were the first company in Finland to do Facebook apps, and I had already learned a lesson by then — never create a business based on someone else’s social media platform. We created an app that let you comment on people’s Facebook updates… On Facebook people could write status updates, but commenting wasn’t a native feature yet. The day Facebook introduced this to their platform, no one needed our application anymore. Of course we had other apps too and created apps for companies, but we learned our lesson.

Meanwhile, Riikka recalls with a smile, “I joined Facebook after some of my friends did and when MySpace wasn’t as popular anymore. I had heard it was growing fast, and it seemed interesting to join a social media network where you had to use your own name, not a nickname… My first friend was my cousin, and we used to discuss all kinds of stuff on our walls and not in chat. Everything happened on the wall.

Of course, a lot has changed since then, but the one thing that has stayed the same is that even after all those years we still enjoy communicating, discovering and sharing interesting content on Facebook.