Facebook, Inc. Hits 2 Billion Users -- But It Won't Stop There

Growth isn't slowing.

Daniel Sparks
Daniel Sparks
Jun 27, 2017 at 4:46PM
Technology and Telecom

Social network Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) hit a major milestone Tuesday as its monthly active users crossed 2 billion. The achievement comes over five years after Facebook hit 1 billion users, and it highlights the social network's persistent strong growth in its user base.

At 2 billion users, here's a look back at Facebook's user growth -- and why Facebook's user base looks poised for even more growth.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stage presenting a 10-year plan at F8 conference in 2016.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Image source: Facebook.

User growth

Facebook's achievement of 2 billion monthly active users comes with just a few days left in Q2. Achieving the milestone during the quarter extends the company's long history of strong quarterly user growth.

To hit 2 billion users during its second quarter, Facebook's monthly active users have increased about 17% compared to users reported in the second quarter of 2016. Additionally, 2 billion users in Q2 represents sequential growth in monthly active users of above 3%. Similarly, in Facebook's first quarter of 2017, the company's monthly active users increased 17% year over year and 4% sequentially.

Since there are still three more full calendar days in Facebook's second quarter, the company's user growth rates for the quarter aren't yet finalized -- and they will likely improve as Facebook adds more users over the next few days.

This growth on such a large base of users is impressive. For some perspective on how difficult it is for social networks to grow their user base, consider recent growth at a much smaller social network: Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). In Twitter's most recently reported quarter, monthly active users increased to 328 million, representing just 6% and 2.8% year-over-year and sequential growth, respectively. In recent years, Twitter has struggled to appeal to the masses the way Facebook does. This has led to Twitter adding only 26 million monthly active users between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2017.

What's perhaps even more impressive than Facebook's recent growth on its main social network is how it is replicating its ability to rapidly grow its user bases on its younger social networks, including WhatsApp (1.2 billion users), Messenger (1.2 billion users), and Instagram (700 million users) -- some of the world's largest social networks. All three of these Facebook social network properties continue to grow at rapid rates. 

Given continued strong growth on Facebook's core social network, as well as on the company's other properties, Facebook's user growth isn't showing any signs of tapering off yet. So, 2 billion monthly active users likely won't be the last major milestone Facebook's user base hits. If CEO Mark Zuckerberg gets his way, Facebook will grow to 5 billion monthly active users by 2030. 

A new mission

Zuckerberg used the milestone on Tuesday as another chance to reiterate the company's new mission. "We're making progress connecting the world," Zuckerberg said, "and now let's bring the world closer together."

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg standing on stage to reveal the social network's new mission statement.

Zuckerberg presents Facebook's new mission. Image source: Facebook.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10103818114983761&set=a.612287952871.2204760.4&type=1&theater

As Facebook neared 2 billion monthly active users, Zuckerberg has shifted the company's mission from connecting the world to bringing the world closer together.

"It's not enough to simply connect the world," Zuckerberg said earlier this month on Facebook. 

Zuckerberg wants to bring the world closer together by building the tools and platform for people around the world to build meaningful groups and communities. To do this, Zuckerberg wants to help over a billion people join "meaningful groups" over the next few years.