Facebook’s Zuckerberg Named Time Person of the Year — New Stats Emerge

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange may have been the people’s choice for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award, but as the publication’s elaborate cover story reveals today, the editors instead chose Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. Perhaps that’s fair given that Facebook has been a main way that Wikileaks has provided its trove of secrets to the world.

Most of the article is a detailed take on how Zuckerberg is leading Facebook today, plus background on his life and the company’s growth. But the article also has a couple apparently new, and interesting, statistics. One is that the company now has 550 million users. The other is that it is growing by around 700,000 new users per day.

Facebook isn’t commenting on the new numbers. Its official stats page still shows the 500 million user mark from when it announced that number in July and it doesn’t currently provide any daily growth stats. So Time appears to have done its own calculations to get the new results — the numbers look about right.

Based on the country data in our Inside Facebook Gold service, Facebook had 576 million monthly active users by the start of December. Two third-party data services indicate similarly: ComScore most recently showed 634 million monthly unique visitors worldwide in October; Google Ad planner was updated in the last couple of weeks to show 590 million.

Therefore, Time is likely a little behind on that number, but in the ballpark. In terms of daily growth rate, 700,000 new users per day since the July announcement implies around 85 million new users in total by today — meaning something like 585 million total, which sounds right.

All of these numbers should be read as estimates to triangulate from, not as facts. The trend, though, seems to show that Facebook is not yet slowing down.

Platform Growth

Following a bunch of other updates to its official stats page last week, Facebook has also quietly made another one today. “More than 2.5 million developers and partners from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform,” the page says today. It previously said one million did. That’s a huge jump, albeit not surprising to us or our readers.