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1 billion people on Facebook

Mark Zuckerburg the founder of Facebook has now got 1 billion people on Facebook. He has just 6 billion more people to go!

Mr. Zuckerberg announced today 4th October that the social network he started in his Harvard dorm eight years ago, reached the milestone of 1 billion active members on Sept. 14. The Menlo Park, Calif., company reached 500 million active users in just July 2010, making it one of the fastest-growing sites in history.

Mr. Zuckerberg, 28, showed just the extent of his aspirations in a celebratory post on his Facebook profile in which he compared his social network to other inventions that have “connected” humans.

“We belong to a rich tradition of people making things that bring us together,” he wrote. “We honor the humanity of the people we serve. We honor the everyday things people have always made to bring us together: Chairs, doorbells, airplanes, bridges, games.”

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In a press release, Mr. Zuckerberg promised members, “I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.”

To date, people have made 140 billion friend connections on Facebook, the company said. As it matures, Facebook users are getting younger: The median age of a user joining today is about 22, down from 23 when user numbers hit 500 million in July 2010.

For Facebook as a business, the announcement couldn’t come soon enough. Investors today value Facebook at just a fraction of the $100 billion opportunity they saw in the company when it held its initial public offering in May.

The question is just how much value can Mr. Zuckerberg extract from all those people that it signed up for free. Last year, Facebook produced about $4 billion in revenue, mostly from advertising—far less than rival Google squeezes out of an equally large set of users.

A Facebook spokesman said Mr. Zuckerberg wasn’t available for an interview.

This week, Facebook executives were at New York’s Advertising Week, trying to convince advertisers that its mix of direct access to people and their friends provides a potent marketing tool equivalent to several Super Bowls each day.

Meanwhile, Facebook has grown increasingly bold in its efforts to find alternative lines of revenue. On Wednesday, it began testing a service in the U.S. that charges members $7 to ensure that their friends see posts on the social network, angering some users who said that Facebook was turning its back on a long-term promise to remain free.

Facebook’s next billion members may be very tough to come by. By most counts, there are about 2.5 billion people on the Internet today—and most of the ones not on Facebook are in countries like China that haven’t welcomed Facebook’s particular brand of online communication.

Lately, Facebook executives have touted their efforts on mobile phones, which will prove crucial to their ability to attract more members from the developing world, and more ad dollars from consumers around the world amid changing Internet habits. On Thursday, Facebook said it had 600 million mobile users.

Mr. Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status to announce the milestone. “This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month,” he said. He thanked users and said that he is committed to making Facebook better.

Facebook had previously said in June that it had 955 million users, and 543 million users who access the site through a mobile phone.

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