Facebook surpasses 1 Billion users, Africa ranks lowest in sign-ups

Giant networking site Facebook has finally hit 1 billion subscribers, marking the company’s biggest milestone eight years after its launch, the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday.

According to Facebook, out of the 1 billion users, 600 million are accessing the site via a mobile device, an increment of 48 million from the 552 million in June.

Africa has the lowest percentage of people using the service, with only 3.15 percent of its population of 1 billion people using it.

North America has the largest percentage of users, with 44.97 percent on the social site, followed by Australia and Oceania at 42.14 percent.

The company said the users have generated close to 1.13 trillion “likes”, 219 billion photos and 17 billion location check-ins, and befriended each other 140.3 billion times.

“If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you,” Zuckerberg wrote in a status update.

He continued by saying, “Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.”

Analysts say the Facebook management is, however, faced with headaches on where to get the next billion customers, while at the same time provide value to its shareholders.

“For Facebook the main challenge is not just to grow in terms of numbers, but more importantly to deepen and enrich engagements,” Eden Zoller, principal analyst at tech research firm Ovum, told the BBC.

The company’s share price dropped by almost half to US$22, from the Initial Public Offer of US$38. It now has to ensure that it grows in the developing worlds.

Whether the company will sustain its growth and further penetrate the developing markets is something that Facebook and its observers will have to wait and see.

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