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Facebook Hits Major Milestone: 1 Billion Active Users

Facebook hit a major milestone today: The biggest social network in the world now has 1 billion active users each month. That means that one in seven people in the world are Facebook users.

As you might have expected, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement on his Facebook account.

The milestone, he said, means Facebook has joined the pantheon of things that help connect humans.

"Chairs, doorbells, airplanes, bridges, games," he wrote. "These are all things that connect us. And now Facebook is a part of this tradition of things that connect us too."

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at what this means for Facebook's business. Since the company went public, it's been buffeted by doubt and questions on whether its worth as much as was estimated during its initial public offering.

The problem Facebook faces, says the Times, is that it's had explosive growth leading up to the 1 billion number. But from here on out, the pace will almost certainly be slower.

The Times reports:

"The next billion will be a lot tougher than the first. One big reason: A third of the world's population can't access Facebook. The Chinese government has blocked access to the website since 2009, although many still scale the "great firewall" to use it.

"It's a big gap for Facebook. The Chinese are avid users of social networks. Zuckerberg has said that Facebook has no immediate plans to enter China."

Along with the announcement, Facebook also released a bunch of statistics (.doc). Among them:

-- The median age of the users signing up for Facebook in the week leading up to milestone was 22.

-- The top users of Facebook were: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. Facebook listed them alphabetical order, not by usage.

-- The average user had 305 friends.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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