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“One billion people used Facebook in a single day” (facebook.com)
193 points by gwintrob on Aug 27, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 188 comments

I hate stuff like this:

"A more open and connected world is a better world. It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values. Thank you for being part of our community and for everything you've done to help us reach this milestone. I’m looking forward to seeing what we accomplish together."

It reeks of dishonesty. This kind of faux gratitude is ubiquitous in our corporation-heavy culture, and being continually exposed to it is part of what has led me to take most things unseriously - because it feels like no one who's serious is honest.

I don't blame you for hating this kind of talk since it doesn't actually say much of anything of substance -- but to call it dishonest seems like a stretch. What am I missing?

Do you think Zuck doesn't actually believe these things? I'm not sure I understand the charge of dishonesty here.

Indeed, I'm not sure I even see anything in that quote that isn't true, let alone something that I don't think Zuckerberg believes to be true.

What's more, I think he's actually grateful to the users of facebook. Who wouldn't be? Again: corporate-ese? Sure. Dishonest though? Not really seeing it.

The problem is that there's a huge elephant in the room: how much money this kind of milestone represents.

I don't trust anything he says, as the frontman of a giant money-making enterprise, that purports to be about "connecting people" or a "stronger society".

I'm not saying he should be "more honest" by mentioning "and congrats to our investors for making so much $$". I'm saying he should leave the sentimental stuff to someone else, because he's got a conflict of interest that makes everything he says seem like bullshit.

Can't agree more. FB is selective honesty at best and public gloating at worst. The people I know are awesomely different if I simply go through the FB profile. While It might not be specific to FB and generally applicable to any online community. Obviously FB would like to take credit for connectivity and all. On a side note, While I also get the same feeling dealing with American culture when compared to Asian cultures.

"A more open and connected world is a better world."

Well, it depends on the baseline. The goal should be to get the balance right.

If you cross some threshold and become too open and too connected, the motto can easily flip to: a more secure (less open) and more independent (less connected) world.

It would be to Facebook's advantage to think of the other half of the problem because it could be worth another billion users.

Actually I think he does believe in a "more open and connected world is a better world". Here is an acid test to see that it is true.

Facebook is investing a huge amount of money and resources[1] to connect the world. You may think that they do it only for money which is fair, but as Zuckerberg said on Bloomberg[2] there is not a lot of money to be made, if not at all, by fighting to give internet access from mid to poor countries. " If we were primarily focused on profits, the reasonable thing for us to do would really just be to focus on the first billion people using our products. The world isn't set up equally, and the first billion people using Facebook have way more money than the rest of the world combined. So from a biz perspective, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for us to put the emphasis into this that we are right now. "

Even if he does it only for money, what he is doing will only be profitable after more than 10 years. And the profits won't be exciting because of the poverty, the small growth of these counties, and their capacity to have a better GDP per Capita. With $15 per day what can you do with that? And with this total amount to be spent how can you have any CPC being not close to 0? It will be better for these people in 10 years maybe or more but, not now unfortunately...

So his mission does seem to have a more open world and to connect people first. You have more in the interview.



He just plans for the future. He needs to show some growth metric and these new users are that metric. Also, it's just a function of time when these new market would convert to highly paying one. Whoever is the first on the market that's who owns it. After all it is not the users who pay Facebook money. It is an advertiser who pays. And if there are people, there are always something to sell. Hence, ADs.

Given that Zuckerberg and Co have access to the private lives of 1 in 7 people, enormous supplies of money, and a giant soapbox of influence, maybe we don't really want honesty--just politeness.

You don't seem to grasp the concept of PR yet.

Why do you think I don't grasp it?

Why do you phrase your criticism as though you're speaking down to a child?

ctrl+f'd the quote here, couldn't have said better myself

I'm curious to know what the metric is actually measuring. Is it one billion people that hit Facebook.com or used the mobile app? Or is it also counting people that might have triggered a hit just by browsing around sites with Like buttons on them while logged in, but didn't actually use Facebook?

To some extent it doesn't matter because it's just such a massive and impressive number, but I'd be curious to know.

Back when I worked there, I "audited" the systems that count Facebook's active users. I needed to analyze code efficiency and feature growth over long periods of time, and so needed very accurate user counts in order to subtract user growth.

Without going into details / trade secrets: there is more than one system, they can cross-check each other, and if anything it's conservative. You have to perform legit, non-drive-by actions on either the site or the app before you're counted as an active user on a given day.

That sounds pretty amazing. Can you offer any insight about users with multiple accounts? Back in the farmville days, people with 10 accounts seemed pretty common. An account just for tinder, or a professional account seems to be a common tactic as well.

I'm curious if multiple accounts are common, or just a few percent of users take it to that level.

Tricky question. I was working on perf, so I could avoid the tricky philosophical / data science questions like that. FB did say in 2012 that they believe 8.7% of accounts were dupes or fakes. I can't say what the number is now, nor comment on how that relates to DAU accounting, but that's a good rough upper bound. Further, deponent sayeth not.

They are not talking about active users. The metric quoted was "used Facebook in a single day". I know for a fact that they count any "Like" click or any Facebook comment on any web page on the internet when they quote "used Facebook". It does not mean logged into one of their apps.

I personally audited the entire pipeline, and code, from collection to analysis all the way to the little DAU ("daily active users") graph that informs this number. That experience, and years of working on related data sets inside Facebook, are enough to convince me that the 1B number is legit.

If that's not enough for you, well, maybe I can't help that. But I am curious what evidence leads you to believe something different. Serious question, genuinely curious.

Edit: to be clear, and IIRC, seeing a Like button is not counted. Actually Liking something, which posts to your news feed, does.

You both seem to be saying the same thing - actively clicking on a like button gets counted as a real genuine user of Facebook. That seems reasonable (one is logged in, and clicks something sending data to FB)

Neither of you have said just having FB button appear on a 3rd party site counts - that would get what 3bn users :-)

I think so, rereading. But many people assume that simply visiting a page with a widget counts.

"I know for a fact" and how do you know this? do you work at facebook? Someone who used to work there just gave a contradicting statement

Given that both actions require a Facebook account that you're logged in to, that seems pretty reasonable

Does that include "Like buttons" and other widgets on third party websites or not?

Yes this metric counts those too.

My guess would be 1 billion unique accounts logged in today, via one means or another.

Absolutely mind blowing.

I wonder how many of those accounts are fake / sockpuppet / astroturf / paid likes

Again, totally guessing here, but I would guess a negligible minority

Since we're all totally guessing here, I feel like I should point out that we're talking about FB scale here. Negligible minority for FB would be many products entire user count.

Right. 10 million fake accounts is still a negligible amount.

Well, it's only negligible within context. Nothing is just automatically negligible at scale but within the context of active users for a single day, I agree, it's negligible.

I would say you are wrong.

For a billion users, they need 1/6 of the worlds population. No way do they have that.

How many kids under 7? under 5? in the world. Don't have accounts. How many elderly over 80? 70? don't have accounts.

What is the % of non-"developed" countries? Not 1/6

Compared to people running multiple accounts (personal / professional/ seo accounts / spam accounts), now that I have heard of.

Regardless, they still have a hell of a lot of users, but 1b real, I doubt

I had a GF that worked solely to create fake facebook accounts.

She alone had about 15 of them, she worked in a company that had about 10 employees that did the same thing as she did.

The company that she worked for, was one of the smallest ones, there are several others that are much, much bigger.

Assume the average such company has around 100 employees with 15 fake accounts each, now assume there are 1,000 such companies: that's 1.5 million fake accounts. At this scale, that is "a negligible minority" ;)

Presumably they only had 15 fake accounts because they put a lot of work into each account. If some company just optimized for quantity over quality, they could get that number up a lot. And if another company used bots instead of employees, they could easily have tens of millions of fake accounts.

No one pays me and I had over 20 FB accounts just to play games. A lot of games give you in-game rewards for referring your friends and allow friends to gift each other in-game items.

Edit: And most of my friends have two or three real FB accounts, one for close friends, one for older relatives/their parents' friends, and one for work acquaintances/bosses. I am in the minority in only maintaining one real account.

So that is 150 in the company. Lets assume there were 100 companies like this, each one 10 times bigger than this smaller company. I'm guessing that is actually overstating the reality. That is 150,000 fake accounts. That would account for about one percent of one percent of these billion logins. So very negligible.

Can you elaborate on the company's purpose? advertising?

Yes, it was a advertising company.

Beside creating false rumours for PR objectives, another use of the accounts was try to reach 5000 people in them (I dunno now, but when she was my GF facebook converted people accounts with 5000 friends into pages with 5000 followers, then ad companies could sell those to kickstart company pages).

I would like to know more about this. Who is paying for fake activities, and to what ends?

Obvious guesses (with prior evidence!) is: Government astroturfing & information gathering (hot girl friends you + gov't gains access to your "private" content), and brand astroturfing.

> I had a GF that worked solely to create fake facebook accounts.

Yes but did she connect to all of them on monday by a mean or another?

I think that's the fact it was on a single day that makes this number impressive.

Her fake accounts had as one of the objectives reach 5000 friends (when this happened you could convert it to a page with 5000 followers and sell it to a company).

To do this they created a program that searched the internet for pictures of someone in various situations, then prepared a easy-to-use library of photos to be uploaded every "x" period to look like a real person.

The account operator (or operators for some particularly prized accounts) would then log-in, post the photo scheduled, and write a post on the fly, the best operators could make the fake account look like a real person, fooling not only other users but bots, tracking software and whatnot.

The accounts that looked particularly real were very useful for PR efforts, some of the biggest clients were appliances manufacturers (example of one of them: GE), and one of the uses was for example one day try to distract the public after some bad news about washing machines causing accidents went viral, or try to create a counter-post that is viral too (in the washing machine case it worked, the viral post stopped being viral in 3 or 4 hours, and not even me remember what was the issue with the washing machines).

Do you guys think this is just somehow not possible, or something? It's Facebook.

It's Facebook circa 2015 though.

Probably at least 20%. But is 800M any less significant? It's an insane number.

Who care? Even if it was 1 billion bots loging info FB in one day, it would still be massive.

I don't know but I'm not really inclined to be skeptical of this.

Also missed this information, but it's expected from such a vague post directed at non-tech users. My guess is that they counted the maximum of everything to blow up the number as much as possible - means it is separate user account hits for desktop, separate user account hits for mobile app, for messenger, API hits, etc, everything add up to one big number. Using this methodology it's not that surprising they hit 1 billion, since a single user could trigger up to 4 hits on average day and even non-users that have logged in cookie produces hits.

Also it's worth looking into the timing of this announcement. Logically, if Mark is as smart as I think he is, he would use these kind of announcements to boost share value and/or give publicity.

Facebook actually has an easier way to measure this than most: how many users logged in. I'm not sure if that's how they did this count, but that's how I initially read it.

I understand it as 1B unique users logged in, and not counting logs from same person on different devices as different users.

Leave it to a PR announcement to omit critical details.

Unless shown otherwise, I will assume this number includes anyone whom Facebook sent an email to or whom ended up on a page that loaded a script from a Facebook property.

Facebook doesn’t measure usage quite so haphazardly. This has been a topic of discussion earlier, and relevant to their SEC / financial filings. Viewing an embedded widget doesn’t count, but clicking it or signing in to an app with Facebook does.

Well, I don't see Mark claiming any of that in this post.

If your machine requests data from Facebook's machine, it's a use of Facebook. There's no way around that.

If Facebook sends personalized content in that request, then there really is no argument that this does not constitute a technical use of Facebook.

However, in most cases, users are not voluntarily making those requests to Facebook, but are more or less forced into making them by some third party (eg. any site using Facebook for a comments section).

What they count as users is in their SEC filing: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1326801/0001326801130...

A public officer of the company isn't going to be haphazard about redefining that without saying so.

You're talking about a different word.

Edit: You'll note that Mark didn't even use that word.

Why does everyone always think Facebook is lying when it comes to these type of things? What good does it serve them to do so?

Seems to me it is mainly just due to the fact that most here haven't worked at anything anywhere close to FB scale and can't believe it can actually be true.

Who thinks they are lying? The same sentence can mean different things to different people depending on what definition is assigned to the words, among other things.

Congrats to Facebook! Instead of poking holes to that number or saying something negative, I'm just going to say Congrats.

Which means at least as many people used the web. Good going, Internet!

In all fairness, this is the resources and development access of a single organization though...

I'm consistently amazed at how well the likes of FB, Google/Youtube, AWS and Netflix actually work by those organizations. Yes there is the occasional down time where things are partially down... just the same that they manage to handle the sheer volume of traffic is truly impressive. Most businesses don't really need more than what a large co-located server offers in compute and storage...

To create a system that services requests from hundreds of millions of simultaneous users throughout the world is genuinely impressive.

Of course it does have its' cracks... The mobile browser interface is more and more gimped as time passes, and the comments for posts that don't have hundreds of replies is equally borked (don't see all replies, or your own half the time). "Eventually Consistent" has it's price... but the reward is handling hundreds of millions of users at one time.

Not necessarily, Facebook has mobile clients.

I admit to loosely using the "mobile clients are specialist browsers" line of thinking here. Facebook definitely uses links and HTTP.

Facebook mobile clients don't use the Internet?

The web is not the same as the Internet, though. The web is an open platform built on open protocols on top of the Internet.

Interesting question: What is the Web? HTTP, or HTTP+HTML? Facebook mobile clients use HTTP, so are they using the web?

Huh, this Wikipedia site is pretty nifty, I didn't know I could look stuff up on it, thanks!

You're welcome!

So.... Does the Facebook mobile client count as using the web?

By the definition, yes, though I can't say how FB themselves count it.

I think they are coming from the web vs native app frame.

It's still over the internet, right?

Of course, but web ≠ internet.

Probably closer to a Venn diagram where the internet encompasses the web and more. SMTP, FTP etc. Splitting hairs now

It looks like mobile-only is 44% of FB use (FB doesn't distinguish between app vs. Internet), and 87% of FB users are on mobile.

Source: https://beta.grasswire.com/story/177/facebook

Well, you should know to many FB is their internet.

To me it's sad and scary for humanity that one profit seeking corporation has managed to wedge itself in the middle of all our relationships. In my ideal world Facebook would be run by a benevolent nonprofit, ala Wikipedia but more democratic.

To paraphrase Han Solo, "yeah, but who's gonna pay for it, kid? You?"

Once upon a time, all Internet protocols were distributed, passed-along by ISPs peering bandwidth (email, IRC, Usenet). The users paid their ISPs, and the ISPs had agreements to share and not bill each other (sort of).

This broke down, because most people monetizing an idea don't want others to host it outside their control. And now, even the peering agreement is breaking down, as Verizon tries to shakedown both sides of a network connection, and not just their subscribers.

We had a friendly, open Internet, and now we have ads and closed-ecosystem apps. In Africa, Facebook Zero is trying to create the illusion that there's no other Internet, just Facebook.

If things like Diaspora had the resources Facebook did, we could totally have distributed social networking, paid for by users.

> In Africa, Facebook Zero is trying to create the illusion that there's no other Internet, just Facebook.

If there is no Internet access then there is no Internet. Critics of Facebook's initiatives should need to provide compelling alternatives if they want to be taken seriously.

Usenet still exists, but herding cats never got any easier, and the cost for hosting didn't go away. There is a reason it became marginalized: user experience.

Facebook Zero is no longer doing what you allege, and never actually did. It was just a plan that was scrapped.

Diaspora never had a design or plan to work. It was a couple college kids who thought it would be neat despite never having written a distributed protocol before. We've had lots of smart people attempt this, and haven't gotten anywhere close to a usable "distributed" social network prototypes.

If your idea can't bootstrap itself from zero users the way modern startups work, maybe it isn't such a great idea after all.

Diaspora has resources on higher side, Mark Zuckerberg had little cash from friends, Diaspora raised it from Kickstarter.

via "A personal appeal from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg" banners, of course.

Sure. Why not? The only thing really stopping us from having distributed apps (like diaspora) is a way for people to easily install them on always-connected hardware they own.

If there were a well designed open source router with a decent app store with equivalents of all the web apps you use online, I'm sure you could get a lot of people to start sharing their baby pictures using software installed on that.

I'd switch to something like that in a heartbeat if it existed.

Would your friends and family? Because that's the real trick. It has to be easier than typing "facebook dot com" on your laptop and your phone, anywhere in the world, to be a serious contender. I like the idea, but I don't see that happening.

That's my point. At the moment routers are in the same position smartphones were pre-iphone - they're functional beasts for 99% of people and while they can be 'smart' it's a niche geek activity and it's super tedious. Kind of like what smartphones were like pre-iphone.

Once somebody makes an easy to use, beautiful router with a vibrant one-click-install app ecosystem (backup, calendar, photos, dropbox, email), I'm sure people will want to migrate to it. It's not just about privacy it's also about being more in control of your data, being 'closer' to your data (uploading your baby photos wouldn't take as long) and not having your experience dictated by profit seeking (your app won't mysteriously switch itself to top stories every other day).

We're just not there yet. Every kind of 'smart router' and associated OSS software is kind of a pile of crap, to be honest.

Why would anyone care about being "closer" to their data? Photo uploads are already so fast as to be without considering. And by all indications, nobody materially gives a damn about Facebook picking and choosing what to show you. And Americans obviously don't care about privacy, either.

I think you're asserting a demand without any indications of its existence.

When the Facebook hack comes, it will be devastating.

Getting in might be possible, but then the attacker would have to covertly exfiltrate and store all of Facebook's content to do a dump. Does J. Random Attacker have enough storage to do this?

Use facebook's cache to host the stolen data and have it downloaded in parallel over the internet.

Maybe; realistically, the Internet speed would probably be more of a limiting factor. At mine, it would take almost a week to fill up 1 terabyte of storage. That's plenty of time to go get a few more HDDs. At 1 Gbps you'd have about 2 hours.

I think you're underestimating the scale of this problem.

According to http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2013/01/18/faceb... , people upload 350 million new photos per day, and they have 240 billion photos total. If we use 1 MB per photo as an average, you'd need about 334 terabytes to store a day of Facebook's pictures. You'd need 228882 terabytes to store the whole thing. Assuming Wikipedia's estimate of $35/TB for desktop hard drives, it would cost about $8 million to store Facebook's photo archive (that's without videos or text). Actually hosting it would cost even more.

If you wanted to go after photos for everyone I would agree with you. Probably just as interesting would be grabbing everyone's private messages, and although a large dump, would be nowhere as hard to store. A further option would be to filter whose photos you steal, so you only target celebrities and/or the rich and famous for maximum effect. It all depends on the aims of the hacker, but I would imagine you could make a devastating attack without stealing all of Facebook's data

If you were bent on getting it all, even at 1 Gbps:

(228882 TB to Gb) sec to years = 58 yr 3 w 1 day 18 h 40 min

58 years is going to take a long time

You can split that across multiple attackers, though. A botnet of 58 machines would be able to do it in about a year by that math. Once you cross into the thousands, a full dump like this is suddenly feasible.

That's why this is more a storage problem than a bandwidth problem in practice. That's a lot of hard drives. While it might be possible to build up a botnet of a few hundred thousand slave machines to download and store it all, the task is by no means trivial.

No no no. That's not the hack.

The real hack will be using Facebook to infect people with malware. Which will probably be staggeringly easy once they get inside.

It will be impossible to remove, it will hijack legitimate connections to non-FB accounts with injection attacks, it will expose all the credentials of all the users of all the services of these 1 billion people. The compromise of sites that rely on Facebook for authentication tokens will pale in comparison.

Attack vectors: app upgrades, browser exploits, e-mail/messenger/comment phishing, 3rd party comment section or ad-network injection, desktop integration, and of course, all the mobile networks that provide Facebook data access for free (which are largely non-smartphone and have rudimentary interfaces).

One billion people will be prompted in some way, or immediately exploited using 0-days, and I would wager around 20% of users would be infected within a few hours of actually starting the attack. That's 200 million infected devices (edit: users; number of devices may be many times more). Depending on the point of entry and the access gained (let's say 20 percent of the infections lead to compromise of the whole system), that's 40 million accounts compromised in a few hours.

Banks, email accounts (which lead to everything else), online shopping, e-wallets, etc all stolen. Then the data extortion packages will encrypt all the phones and wipe any usable data and demand payment or destruction of data. There'll be a very short timer, too, because the bank and other financial account session data may be reset quickly. There is a potential that markets could crash worldwide as financial balances get shifted around at the speed of the internet.

Screw the Facebook data. This is a compromise that organized crime and state actors would invest millions of dollars to set up. And it's a virtual certainty that it will happen one day.

> And it's a virtual certainty that it will happen one day.

Hell, it's probably already happening. Facebook's a big company. Not inconceivable to think that there might be at least one underpaid, disgruntled, obese, bespectacled mole in their ranks, quietly subverting security measures and siphoning data until he gets his $1.5 million pay day and heads off to retire in Costa Rica (or attempt to before getting eaten by Dilophosaurus while trying to escape Facebook's HQ...).

The torrent to end all torrents.

Would it even be possible to exfiltrate all that data? It's hard to imagine even storing all that they're generating in a single day. What's the most an attacker could likely get? Usernames & passwords for all users? Complete profile/album/comment data on a few tens of millions?

Very insightful question. The only way I could see this working is having a botnet network that extracts the data externally, encrypts and stores locally, and then each node serves up its cache over bittorrent to a command and control system.

It's just so much data. The more valuable data, arguably, would be plain text profile data about people, not their photos.

Assuming 7 billion people in the world (very conservative, for funsies), each profile containing 10 megabytes of profile data (exclude photos, just textual data), uncompressed, would be 70 petabytes. A lot of data to be sure, but not unsurmountable. Compressed, you could probably get down to 30-40 PB depending on compressibility.

Why 7 billion people if FB has less than 1.5 billion users? And why 10MB? 10 megabytes of text is a lot of text.

Was assuming worse case scenario. Based on 1.5 billion users and 3MB of text, its only ~4.5 PB. That's nothing.

10 megabytes of text data per user? You are orders of magnitude off. A list of friends, all posts and private messages. After compressing it will probably average 10 kilobytes per user.

> What's the most an attacker could likely get?

Remember that thing when a guy from Europe asked from Facebook to give him everything they knew about him (which European citizens are allowed to request by law) and got over 1000 pages of information from Facebook?

Now, multiply that by a billion (well, two or three billions actually).

>which European citizens are allowed to request by law

Can they? TIL. It would be a fun thing to know, exactly how much they know about you.

I only know about the Netherlands, but European might be similar:

- When an organization collects data about you, they are forced to tell you about it (unless they're police or something I guess) and tell you what they are going to do with it. In Dutch this is called the "Informatieplicht persoonsgegevens".

- Upon reasonable request, an organization must give you all information they can reasonably give you. "Reasonably" means, given a normal amount of effort. If they need to contact the garbage collectors and dig up an old cassette they threw away years ago, that is unreasonable to ask. They may also charge a fee, but the limit is quite low I think.

- You can ask an organization to correct or remove your personally identifiable information if you have a good reason or if they have no reason not to. For example if you ask to remove your IP address from logs and they want to keep it for security purposes for 4 weeks, their argument sounds pretty reasonable (unless you have some better reason).

- They cannot keep personally identifiable information for longer than necessary. For example, log files from the web server may be kept for security purposes, but if you have ten year old log files, that is too long to be reasonable for that purpose and is thus illegal.

One thing I've always wondered about is how applicable this is to foreign organizations with websites accessible from the Netherlands. I've heard some people say that for companies with customers in the Netherlands, Dutch law applies and those customers have the above rights. Nobody seems to comply with that, though. Another thing I've heard is that if they have an office here, that office can be held to our laws. I should look that up some time.

I remember the case in which one guy (I think he was Irish) did send that request to Facebook and got a over one thousand page long response.

Then, there was a shit ton of persons from Europe (like, dozens of thousands) who tried to do the same through a combined court order in Vienna. Then, the court in Vienna decided that this issue was "not admissible on procedural grounds". Then, those thousands of people got generic responses like: "You can download every data we store on you by going into your settings...". Then there was an appeal to that decision and then the whole thing died out.

I found the website that organized this: http://europe-v-facebook.org/EN/en.html

They keep a lot of data in cold storage as well, so not sure how easy it would be able to get everything. Probably just whatever data they think will be likely accessed soon and is in relatively ephemeral storage.

Interesting attack vector would be something that watching the staging area from cold storage and sent that data out.

An attacker could attempt to damage or destroy some or all data. Covertly or openly. Immediately or over a long run.

Mmmmm silent corruption without underlying verification of the data. The most evil of attacks.

Where are you going to upload that many users? Pretty sure they have a good bug bounty program.

Into the Matrix ;)

Are there actually people who put stuff on facebook thinking it's private?

Depends how you define private.

I assume that anything I put on facebook is already known to various governments, and might well become known to anyone in the world. I mostly post funny comments and the occasional picture, but would never post anything I didn't want my employer, my children, etc. to see.

Me either.

But I post photos of my children with the assumption that I have privacy from the masses, and I think Facebook offers that.

My ex girlfriend can't access those photos. Yes, I agree they're not private, I know someone can copy them and email them to her. The government has access. They're sitting in public CDNs, the URL to them has no security etc etc.

But those photos still have a level of privacy.

So yes, I think there are many people who put things on Facebook expecting they're private. Not private in the way you mean, but private in the way I mean.

As astounding as this number is - and the longer I think about it the more mind blowing it gets - Facebook is all-but the single-point-of-failure for an Internet that was designed not to do that.

I look forward to the day we build these new protocols (sharing, social graphs, even search) in open distributed ways - the day Facebook becomes AOL in other words. I'm just not sure how.

And if I was any non-US culture-aligned country, I would be wondering how to build that replacement - this is like television in the 1950s, but everyone around the world is watching NBC.

But boy does 100bn dollars look cheap now.

What's the big deal if Facebook goes down? If it's important, I email (Gmail going down would be more dire, I think). Or I can text people if I have their number. Or send a Hangout. Or Whatsapp. Or Skype. Or call them. Facebook has monopolized social media, not all communication.

To add to your point, studies show that people use FB to keep contact with their existing friends; not to meet new ones. This means in most cases FB is not the only communication channel one has with their friends.

Will have to also consider, FB login is most popular 3rd party login, add to that facebook comments and other widgets on 3rd party sites. FB going down will have a substantial impact

That's true, I forgot about that. Thankfully, most of the sites I use that have FB login are just for entertainment, not communication or anything serious. But that's true.

There is a more likely possibility that there are some people whose entire idea of the internet was/is/will continue to be FB. Someone will be born, raised, and die thinking FB is the whole internet. Someone else WeChat.

It's a social failure, not a technical one. There are decentralized social networks, but people are stuck in FB with various excuses despite constantly complaining about privacy and other problems.

There are decentralized social networks, but how many of them could actually scale to the size of FB?

Good question, since I don't think it was tested ;) With full decentralization they should be able to scale, but theory should be tested by practice.

There are 3.20 billion internet users which is 44% of 7.2 billion (1)

1 billion facebook users is 1/3 (32%). That is very impressive.

1) http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/

  used Facebook in a single day
Just to clarify, is that fb.com, messenger, whatsapp, comment widgets etc combined?

I highly doubt they think that way when qualifying numbers for PR purposes. Regardless of how they connected to Facebook it is still Facebook Inc and it is still hell of a number.

If they are counting people who were only served a "like" button on other site's pages, this announcement boils down to "the internet is a big place! Full story at 11."

Exactly, if I visit a page where they have embedded commenting using fb id, it's not actually me visiting the site. An issue is if someone decides to place ADs in fb based on this publicity.

Just to put this in perspective: Population of USA is about 300 million and Europe is about is 740 million. Together it is slight above 1 Billion, but Facebook had 1 Billion unique visitors in 1 day!

That is just mind-boggiling.

To give you an idea of how big one billion actually is, (assuming you count once per second) it takes over 11 days to count up to 1 million.

It takes over 31 years to count up to 1 billion.

Probably a lot longer than that.

> assuming you count once per second

One second is counting pretty slow for small numbers, but it's counting really fast for big numbers. (How quickly can you say "three hundred twenty five million seven hundred ninety six thousand one hundred seventeen"?)

And there are a lot more big numbers than small numbers.

I agree that at some point (probably reasonably early on actually) it would start taking longer to say the number out loud than one second, so you'd fall behind.

However we're talking about counting which is not necessarily saying it out loud. You could just be pushing a button every second, or watching a drop of water fall from a pipe at a constant rate.

Anyway, I remember learning this little fact as a kid and it making the numbers (and the difference in magnitude between them) much more tangible.

For context, at a rate of 1/sec/sec:

  1             = 1 sec
  10            = 10 sec
  100           = ~1.5 min
  1000          = ~17 min
  10,000        = ~3 hours
  100,000       = ~1 day
  1,000,000     = ~12 days
  10,000,000    = ~4 months
  100,000,000   = ~3 years
  1,000,000,000 = ~32 years

It may also be worth noting (when discussing national debt and the like) that 1 trillion = ~32,000 years.


My grandfather, when I was a teenager, wanted to impress upon me the vastness of large money numbers. He was wanting me to better understand how large these sums were when discussing personal wealth in the millions+, as well as how even larger such sums were when discussing government expenditures.

He made me do this same math, suggesting spending $1/second. When I calculated, and wound up with these same numbers for spending $1M & $1B--which I always rounded up to 12 days & 32 years respectively--he succeeded in cementing his point in my mind.

I have never forgotten it in over 20 years.

Seems like our brain think in log.

That's probably because the size of decimal digits written down on a piece of paper is in log.

Our number system is in log: value(number) ~ 10^length(number)

I wonder how they got that number. If getting Android notifications counts as 'using Facebook' then I'm one of those one billion.

Well, if I opened any article that has a like or a share/recommend button, I did technically send a request to Facebook and got something in return. Does that count as "using Facebook"?

Given that the Daily active users (DAU) averaged at 968mil for June 2015, this isn't too surprising.


And this is a quarterly report. I don't think they can BS on this kind of thing.

Regardless of whether this includes real people or not, that's still quite a bit of load that they're able to handle.

Have other services like Google or YouTube reached this milestone as well or is this an overall first for any site?

Considering Android and Chrome have exceeded a billion users each (e.g. [1]), just default search page alone should guarantee that, let alone people who use google search in other browsers, youtube, google maps, gmail etc

[1] http://venturebeat.com/2015/05/28/google-chrome-now-has-over...

Without absolutely nothing to base myself on, I'd guess Google has higher usage. Does anyone have any quick data at hand on this?

EDIT: By usage I mean what's referenced on the article, number of unique people using the page.

I'm having trouble figuring out which would be a bigger accomplishment -- 1 billion on Facebook's platform or Google's. I'd imagine the average Facebook user (viewing/uploading photos and video, multimedia ads, pages with a zillion pieces of dynamic content, etc.) has heavier responses, but Google needs to do more legwork to put together the comparatively light response to a regular old web search.

Not to be pedantic, but this isn't really about usage so much as unique humans. I think the fact that 1B separate human beings utilized the service is more astounding than, say, number of page views or requests.

It's probably harder to quantify "people" with those services since they're not inherently tied to a single account. Given YouTube has long exceeded 5B pvs a day, I suspect they've come close if not surpassed it in a single day.

This announcement makes me think of a quote from the Urbit dev mailing list [1]:

Infinite or effectively infinite identity systems are not impossible to make spam-free. There is a very easy way to make them spam-free. Install a dictator. The dictator (call him "Zuck," because that's his name) is then subject to political pressures of various kinds, and pretty much has no choice but to decide, say, which kinds of videos you can and can't host.

[1]: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/urbit-dev/zuck/ur...

What are the next closest products in terms of single day user count?

Taken together, Coca-Cola's beverages might come close:

>Today, products of The Coca-Cola Company are consumed at the rate of more than 1.8 billion drinks per day. [0]

However, it's hard to say how that translates to unique people, since it's not uncommon for people to drink more than one soda a day. Not to mention the fact that the product lineup is very diverse: you could have orange juice for breakfast (Minute Maid), water for lunch (Dasani), a sports drink after your workout (Powerade), and soda with dinner (Coke) and be individually responsible for four drinks.

Probably unnecessary disclaimer: I own a small amount of Coca-Cola stock.

[0] http://www.coca-colacompany.com/contact-us/faqs

And the size of a drink. A packaged item? Or 8oz?

Probably YKK zippers.

looks like some microsoft products have those numbers too - http://news.microsoft.com/bythenumbers/index.HTML

If this is logins, that's 1 million logins every 86.4 seconds on average

It’s not. :) Facebook logins last a long time. Shorter sessions would reduce usage / addiction

Are users of sites which use facebook authentication included?

That comes down to an average of 11,574 logins a second...

No. We’re talking about 1B users per day, not 1B logins per day.

Sorry, assumed logins inferred unique logins.

And how many robots?

Less than 2% according to Facebook's last 10-Q:

"We also seek to identify "false" accounts, which we divide into two categories: (1) user-misclassified accounts, where users have created personal profiles for a business, organization, or non-human entity such as a pet (such entities are permitted on Facebook using a Page rather than a personal profile under our terms of service); and (2) undesirable accounts, which represent user profiles that we determine are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as spamming. In 2014, for example, we estimate user-misclassified and undesirable accounts may have represented less than 2% of our worldwide MAUs."

Interesting. Do you know if they believe they are able to identify nearly all such accounts, and the only reason they persist is because it takes time to detect and they are able to gain whatever value they get out of the account before they are detected?

nah not that many. Based solely on the number of long lost friends/acquaintances/family members (known & unknown) I have encountered on Facebook over the years, I am sure that stat is for real.

is Robert Scoble a robot?

Probably far less than twitter, g+, or other social networks.

From one of the comments: 'Normal email communication and phone lines were down, but thank goodness FB was up!'

Can someone explain this? How can FB be 'up' but E-mail be 'down'?

I'd guess that she used a local email provider (probably an email address provided by per ISP or another local email host), but their servers were down either because of the load (everybody was not trying to send emails), or their servers were down as well. Another possible option is that only her mobile internet worked and she didn't have email on her phone, thus she had to use facebook and now thinks my email doesn't work when it's needed.

Maybe it was a local email provider. I haven't found this comment you're referring to but I guess it's disaster related, and it's plausible that an email provider/host went down

Maybe through facebook zero?

If this was yesterday, I counted as 3, since I logged in into 3 of my 20 facebook accounts. Not sure how common that is.

I can assure you that you are in the minority by a long long margin.

Why do you have 20 accounts?

For fun: I like to create ficticious personages and sort of use it for micro-blogging. Also, I do not always want to use my real name when I reply to comments or link FB accounts to apps that require it.

...and I wasn't among them :) gave up Facebook long time ago.

I for one was not one of them. I closed my account years ago and haven't looked back. "Oh, look at the cute photo!"

3.2 B people on planet earth with Internet access.


31% of anyone on planet Earth who could conceivably use a facebook product did in one day. I call B.S. or way more than 3.2 B people on planet earth have Internet access.

I think you underestimate the scale of Facebook to be honest. It's MASSIVE.

I think you may be underestimating the amount of facebook attrition over the past 3-4 years.

Do you have any data on that?

He doesn't.

Here's some data. June 2015 averaged 968mil daily active users. From their quarterly report: http://investor.fb.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=924562 And quarterly reports aren't something you add marketing lies to.

ok, well, let's attack this problem from another angle using the data you cite. 968 mil customers, $4.04 Billion in revenue. That makes $4.18 in revenue per customer for the quarter. You'd be hard pressed to name another going concern even 1/10th of facebook's size with such low rev/customer numbers.

So what's wrong? They are either miscounting customers, or they are horrendously bad at achieving any non-trivial revenue on a per customer basis.

I don't understand how FB revenue per customer relates to your original issue? "Let's attack this problem"--- what's the problem? Are you saying that facebook user attrition is lowering revenue per customer, even though they're still logging?

--- going off topic:

From your responses, you're definitely intelligent. But you're not using that intelligence to seek truth, you're just doing your best to tear down facebook. I'm sure it works in your other social circles, but we can tell what you're doing and that's where the downvotes are coming from. And it makes me sad that a fellow libertarian is not being nuanced and holistic in their thinking.

> you're just doing your best to tear down facebook

not exactly, just trying to tear down the PR BS that they are feeding world, and people are accepting as truth.

I can promise you that in developed countries, revenue generated per user is much much higher. For example in the United States in 2014 it was ~$9 (and growing).

When undeveloped countries start developing faster, revenue per user per year will rise sharply in those regions as well, thus increasing Facebook's overall revenue significantly. That's why both Google and Facebook are focusing heavily on getting internet to 3rd world countries.

This is a long term game and they are winning.

> When undeveloped countries start developing faster

But will they? If you look at G-7 vs non G-7 markets over any reasonable time frame, what evidence makes you expect that non G-7 revenues will come anywhere close to G-7 revenues on a per customer basis? And given how stringent the EU is on privacy concerns, perhaps EU revenues will forever remain significantly lower than US revenues on a per-customer basis.

Wait - half a billion of those were my sons, polling the site every 50 milliseconds

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