When the platform was founded 13 years ago, you were required to be a student of selected universities to join the ranks of Facebook users, but the wall around that garden has long since been demolished. Clearly, it’s a decision that paid off. There are now two billion Facebook users – more than a quarter of the world’s population. Taking to none other than his social network to share the news with Facebook users on Tuesday 27 June, founder Mark Zuckerberg, said: “As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people! “We’re making progress connecting the world, and now let’s bring the world closer together. It’s an honor to be on this journey with you.” One of the many Facebook users that responded to his post declared their confidence that Zuckerberg would manage to rack up another five billion to serve everyone on the planet, to which the CEO replied: “We still have a long way to go to connect everyone. But we must do more than just connect — we must bring people closer together.” That idea of bringing Facebook users closer together will likely be the driving force as Zuckerberg seemingly wants the social in social network to pull its weight. It also backs up what he said in May about the Q1 financial results, which saw revenue rise 49 per cent. “We had a good start to 2017. We’re continuing to build tools to support a strong global community,” he claimed. [rb_inline_related]
At the time, Facebook had 1.94 billion monthly active users, up 17 per cent year-on-year, while daily active users were at 1.28 billion. In October 2012, the company reached the milestone for one billion Facebook users, meaning it’s taken under five years to get to the two billion mark. And with two billion in mind, in 2014 it was $2bn that Facebook paid for virtual reality firm Oculus – a division of the social network that could help Zuckerberg’s vision to “bring people closer together”. Facebook Spaces was introduced in April, a new virtual reality app for the Oculus Rift that allows Facebook users to connect with virtual versions of their friends in an array of environments, whether real world or outer space. “Spending time with friends and family creates many of our most meaningful memories, but it’s impossible to always be physically near the people we care about,” said Rachel Franklin, head of Social VR, at the time. “That’s where the magic of virtual reality comes in. Today, we’re introducing Facebook Spaces — a new VR app where you hang out with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment as if you were in the same room. “In the future, it will continue to transform the way people around the world stay connected with their communities and those closest to them. We can’t wait to get there.” The free app is currently available in beta and continues to be refined, while the Oculus Rift headset and Touch controllers cost £600. It’s probably only a matter of time before brands can insert products into the virtual world for shoppers to buy. While any VR proposition will likely focus on large firms, at least in the beginning, the two billion milestone of Facebook users is still good news for SMEs. In April, it was revealed that extra SME support had been introduced as the platform reached five million businesses advertising. A month later and the Facebook UK SME Council had been forged to take the needs of growing businesses to the next level. “At Facebook, we really want to help small businesses grow,” said Olly Sewell, senior manager of SMB in UK & Ireland, opening up the reason for introducing the UK SME Council. “And there are real opportunities to help small businesses learn from each other.” If the Facebook user base continues to grow, then it stands to reason that the support for SMEs will only continue to build alongside it.
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