Facebook hits 250 million user milestone

15 Jul 2009

The social-networking phenomenon that is Facebook has now 250 million people using it to share information with their friends and acquaintances.

The site that has its origins on Harvard’s campus was started in 2004 by the then 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) and his college roomates as a way to meet girls. It quickly evolved into a way college students on Harvard’s campus could communicate.

The viral effect of Facebook was unstoppable; soon every campus in America was using Facebook, and by 2006 it was a recognised global social-networking site used mainly by people in their 20s and 30s.

As of today, 250 million people – including over 700,000 Irish people – are using Facebook to stay updated on what’s happening around them and to share information with the people in their lives.

Last year, the company announced plans to locate its international headquarters in Dublin with the creation of 70 jobs.

In recent months, Russian investment group Digital Sky Technologies (DST) paid US$200m for a 1.9pc stake in Facebook, which values the company at around US$10bn. Last year, Microsoft paid US$240m for a 1.6pc stake in the company, valuing it at the time at around US$15bn.

“The rapid pace of our growth is humbling and exciting for us, and it affirms that people everywhere are realising the power of staying connected to everything they care about on Facebook,” Zuckerberg said today on the site.

“From the beginning, Facebook hasn’t been about building a website. Facebook is about all of the people using it and all of the things that are important to you. The 250 million of you on Facebook today are what gives Facebook life and makes the site meaningful to everyone using it, so we thank you.

“Each person who joins makes Facebook better by adding a presence to the site that friends and family can connect with and feel closer to. For us, growing to 250 million users isn’t just an impressive number; it is a mark of how many personal connections all of you have made, and how far we at Facebook have to go to extend the power of connection to the billions of people around the world.”

Zuckerberg said the company is continuing to develop the platform to be able to serve as many people in the world as possible.

“This means reaching out to everyone across the world and making products that serve all of you, wherever you are – whether through Facebook Connect, new mobile products and the other things that we are building,” Zuckerberg said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years