back to article Facebook tops half-billion users, wants your innermost thoughts

Facebook now has a half-billion active users, founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday, and he's providing a new service to let each and every one of them "tell their own story." "Half a billion is a nice number," Zuckerberg said in a video statement, but "instead of focusing on numbers," he's instituting a new service …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Jemma

    Advertising taglines...

    "A$$book, Myspaz & Twatter - invading your privacy for as long as they can get away with it..."

    Wonderful tagline isnt it, when you come to think about it.... Oh wait....

    "Ah think, what we got here, is failure to have an IQ above room temperature...."

    "Social Networking - cleaning up the gene pool since 2-thousand-4"

    "Bebo - getting dirty old men together since 2005"

    "Twatter - helping you say "i'm a lonely d***head" in 140 characters or less for far far far too long"

    " - helping tweens end up face down in ditches since 2004"

    Need I go on?

    I mean seriously - friends reunited for example- you thought they were tossers at school 20 years ago, which means after finding out what they have been doing for the last 20 years you will

    a.) Know more about some pointless gits life in minute detail than you ever wanted too - and have met their nauseating partner...

    b.) Remember full well why when you last saw them was the happiest and most fulfilling 15 minutes of your life (the worst being when they txt'd you half an hour later to tell you they were taking the same 'A' levels at the same college as you...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Don't do social networking; but from your description it might be worth a try if Bebo and Faces can be somehow joined. Sounds like a splendid way of spending an evening.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Sir, you are a genius!

      Oh and you owe me a new keyboard as mine now has bits of breakfast stuck in it!

  2. Alastair 7


    Like Facebook or not, those figures are a load of crud. If they were all hours spent in work time then it would be lost productivity, but it isn't.

    The only conclusion you can draw is that people spend time on Facebook. Perhaps to the detriment of their work, but perhaps to the detriment of their TV watching. Shrug.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @Alastair 7

      "Like Facebook or not, those figures are a load of crud. If they were all hours spent in work time then it would be lost productivity, but it isn't."

      So-called "social networking" is still a fucking waste of time, no matter how you look at it. Go outside, smell the roses. Walk around the block. Say "hi" to the neighbors. Get a RealLife[tm]. Seriously, it's worth the lack of effort.

      When I see the sad gits at coffee-shops, furiously updating their ::whatever:: page, flashing their hardware to be seen with o't'day, hoping that someone, somewhere, will notice them ... all the while surrounded by real life MOTAS who are equally desperate for attention and/or a date ... well, I kinda suspect that the human race has stopped evolving. Sad, that.

      Helpful hint: Next time you're at Whole Foods (or chip shop, or whatever), purchasing your soon to become sad & lonely pre-prepared evening meal ... look around you! See that pretty/handsome MOTAS, obviously purchasing a similarly sad & lonely evening meal? Smile at them! Ask 'em if they have ever tried the penne casserole, or the Korean spareribs, or the mango, red onion & spinach salad with cashews. Strike up a conversation. If the other party seems willing to chat, suggest finding a table somewhere to eat said meal together.

      Might take a week or seven, but if you are both lucky, you'll both get lucky ;-)

      Won't work every time, for obvious reasons ... but I used to get a lot of dates when I was at Berkeley & Stanford, buying my morning coffee at Peet's[1] on Vine Street, Berkeley & University Avenue, Menlo Park, respectively.

      [1] Back when Peet's was good coffee, before they went crass & commercial, trying to catch up to the swill sold by Starbucks ... Sad thing is that Starbucks got their inspiration from Peet's. It's a lowest common denominator thingie, alas ...

      1. Alastair 7

        Oh, shut up

        'So-called "social networking" is still a fucking waste of time, no matter how you look at it.'

        Sorry, I'll get off your lawn. I use Facebook. I post photos of trips I've been on so that my friends half way across the world can see them. I organise events (yes, REAL LIFE ones) with my friends, it's very useful.

        Your theory that everyone who uses social networking sites is a shut-in is a pretty laughable one. No, Facebook isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean you have to berate everyone that uses it. It's quite possible to combine a real life with using a social networking site- believe it or not, the latter than assist in the former.

        1. jake Silver badge

          @Alastair 7

          [patience mode=on]

          Alastair, I have had the capability to do all the things that you perceive as positives longer than TheInternet[tm][1] has existed (I ran a family BBS a couple decades ago, and later a Fido node, followed by the 20+ year old Sun 3/470 "Pegasus" that still runs the family email, ftp, usenet, gopher[2] and johnnie-come-lately WWW server). And yes, me old Mum & Great Aunt have made use of those facilities for the last thirty-ish years, as have the rest of the family. You *could* do the same ... WITHOUT allowing a multi-billion dollar data mining company to catalog your friends & family's personal data.

          But whatever floats your boat. Follow your bliss.


          [1] Whatever that is ...

          [2] Retired, as of a couple years ago ... Except my Great Aunt, who is still using it to publish her life's story.

    2. bigphil9009


      What a meaningless calculation. Even if all 500m users were of working age (which is patently untrue), this would assume that none of the "facebooking" (sorry) was carried out after working hours, or at weekends. Now, I don't doubt that a lot of time is wasted at work with people browsing Facebook - indeed, as IT manager for a media company I certainly know it is!, but just as much time is spent browsing, or (oh wait, that one is just me.)

      1. Adam Salisbury

        The Pedant Within

        Whether those 400,000 hours of web twattery are happening in or outside of work is irrelevant, it is still 400,000 hours of lost/wasted productivity (read: life) of many a Facebooker!

        I often wonder how much Farmville a Facebooker would have to play to consider it worth wasting all the time on!

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Zuckerberg cause of the Meltdown?

    I'm sure people in Government and Financial Wealth Generators will purr like fat cats at this idea.

  4. bart

    Superpoke me, baby

    Just look me up on facebook. Oh, wait, I don't (and never will) have an account. I guess I must be some new kind of sociopathic outcast. Woe is me . . .

  5. JP19
    Jobs Horns

    Half a billion suckers

    Having to break my own personal privacy policy of never providing any valid information to anyone on the internet (unless I absolutely have to) to get past the first page on Facebook means I never did and have no idea WTF it is.

    I can't be arsed to create a throwaway email address on a server that it doesn't recognise as throwaway so I guess I never will. Can't say I'm bothered, I'm sure I would regard anyone who did go through that first page as a moron, all half billion of them.....

    1. Wibble

      Zuckerberg spins more tosh than Tony B-liar

      It's nowhere near half a billion. How many accounts are dormant? You can't get off the bloody thing once you've signed up.

      And how many accounts are for fictitious 'people'. The only account I've ever created is for a start.


  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    One half of a billion...


    Man is doomed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    my innermost thoughts about facebook would be unpublishable

  8. heyrick Silver badge

    Girl on the left can't write an 'N'.

    Just saying...

  9. LINCARD1000
    Black Helicopters

    What worries me...

    Never signed up for it, but get occasional nagging emails from it ostensibly from people "inviting me to join"... but the fucking thing seems to know all about me anyway, including my full, real name and email address, even though the people inviting me don't have that information.

    Bloody 'ell, guvnor! If I actually went ahead and created an account* it would probably just tell me "don't bother, we already HAVE all of your info.

    * I am a luddite when it comes to Web2.0. Bog off, FaceSpace, MyBook, Twaddle etc.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    FB = cancer

    "But our congrats to Facebook — although there's a dark side to their success. In a February Neilsen survey, researchers determined that the average Facebook user spends seven hours per month noodling about on the social-networking service. "

    Jesus, what an understatement - its close to 7 hours a day at my work... I see it every day... and work itself now is seens as a great inconvenience - something that gets in the ways of FB-ing.

    Its cancerous and I hate it.

  11. Timjl

    If you don't want to use it

    don't use it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Such a simple response it indicative??

      Sounds like it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pass the sick bucket

    I think I'm going to upload the contents of my stomach.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm....'s really not that important, is it? A lot of people use it as a means to get in touch with people they lost touch with, and for that it is very good at what it does.

    The levels of vitriol and venom that the facebook haters display does somewhat suggest that they care a little _too much_ about what other people do. Get your own life and live it , and stop being so f*cking bitter.

    Just to add, I was one of `you`. All I did was mock my girlfriend and others for using facebook. Then I realised I was the only one with the problem.... I still don't use it myself, or at least not for anything more than a point of contact (no wall, posts, status, profile anything like that, just a name and school).

    You could level many arguments similar to those focused on facebook against use of the internet full stop, but you don't, because you use it, and you think it's important.... posting spurious bitchy opinions on the Reg, for example, to many would be more pointless and asinine (not to mention a waste of work time) than catching up with real people you actually know.

  14. GreenDan

    I have discovered somthing interesting...

    Even though I have a FB account, I am still able to go outsite and interact with the Fleshbots! Also, now one from facebook came to my house and held a gun to my head to put info up!

    I think I may have miss read the T&C's?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "Also, now one from facebook came to my house and held a gun to my head to put info up!"

      As a matter of interest, "one what" from FB came to your house and held you at gunpoint?

  15. gribbler

    It does have it's uses...

    It always worries me a little just how anti-facebook most of the users on here are...

    You know what, I admit it, I use facebook. It's a great way to keep in touch with my friends around the world (I don't use it to chat to those I can just call and meet down the pub). A lot of my friends and even a lot of work colleagues post useful information on there. I use it to organise meetings/get-togethers and trips and (yes) every now and then I use it to just to go and have a look what people I know have been up to.

    I'm don't put my bank account details or my address or even my date of birth on there. As far as I konow, nobody has ever used my profile information to my disadvantage, the government/CIA/evil Zuckerberg to the best of my knowledge have not used it to monitor my every move....

    Sadly, nobody has ever tried to groom me for some kind of deviant sexual purpose either.

    For a site devoted to technology, there's a lot of luddites around here... here's my suggestion, set up a new free webmail account, get your self a profile and give it a go for a month. You don't need to give away any personal info other than your name and if after a month you don't like it then you can at least explain why in an informed manner.

    Best of all, given that every e-commerce/news/blog site in the world wants a bit of the FB action, you might even find that it helps you at work to have an understanding of this crazy new-fangled social networking thing.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Twatbook & Twatter

    'Oh I really must tell everyone about me because I am so important'


    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Twatbook & Twatter

      'I really must tell everyone my thoughts on social networking because they are so important and thus by extension so am I'

      We're really not so different. Let's join hands and sing!

      1. Justabloke 1
        Thumb Up


        :) I was wondering if anyone would point out the similarities between commentarding on here and commentarding on facebook. Both are of the "here I am and this is my opinion" ilk.

        Now I have a facebook profile and like the previous poster, I keep up with freinds and family who are scattered to the 4 corners, I don't share stuff I wouldn't be happy have a convo about so really can't see why all the hatred is thrown at FB....


        Now Twitter... what a bunch of twats twitter users are!


  17. Old Tom

    Humbug to half the commentards above.

    Keep away if you want to - but don't bend my ear about how clever you are to do so, and don't call me a moron.

    Facebook has put me back in occasional touch with old friends; it's handy for organising social events (put those together and you get great drinking sessions with genuine friends from the past); it facilitated a bunch of us to help each other during redundancy (understanding the law, catching the company out, and more drinking); it's facilitated me teaming up for economic activity with someone thousands of miles away; it's a handy way to communicate and see pics of family on the other side of the planet. Yesterday it told me that you can enhance strawberries with balsamic vinegar.

    There are other channels to facilitate the above, but this one happens to work quite well. It probably helps people get sex too.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Humbug to half the commentards above.

      Wow, it's a backlash against the backlash. I thought it'd never happen here. It's true that it has become tedious listening to everyone scream about how awful it is. But it is what you make it, and if you have a carefully-selected bunch of good friends who post witty and interesting things and use it to augment and organise their lives and invite you to things then it's great.

      Still, getting really exercised and aggravated about something you hate for reasons you can't quite identify is way more fun.

  18. Fading
    Thumb Down

    How many unique members though?

    I suspect the figures are more in the region of 100 million - as I know of a few people with more than one FB account (sometimes many many more).

    It might be worth seeing how many relationships were destroyed through FB etc.... I wonder if those stories will be shared?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Many years ago

    in a different life, I used to work in a family business, with regular customers. At Christmas, there were a few who felt that along with their Christmas card, we'd like to receive a photocopied few pages of A4 where they had typed out (or worse, written) an account of the previous year. As if we really cared that their dog had worms in February, or little Johnny came outof nappies in July.

    I thought it was sad then. I think it's sad now.

    For me, communicating via facebook is like inviting *everyone* you know, plus everyone THEY know down the pub. You don't do it in real life, so why do it in cyberspace.

    Personally I think this is where FB will ultimately falter. Because once I give you my details, I lose control of them. Forever. The more people connect through FB, the more marked it will be.

    I know you are supposed to be able to set privacy levels etc. But what a faff !

  20. Shady

    So that'll be

    400,000,000 lost and abandoned accounts where people are too bloody stupid to remember where they put that post-it note with their passwords, and 100,000,000 Very Sad People.

  21. Yorkshirepudding

    listen very carefully

    no one care what little bethany said at school today, no one cares you got a new hair doo, no one cares you have a hangover

    facebook would be more tollerable without the inane updates people put on every day

    no one gives a frak! make stupid updates a crime agaisnt the species

  22. Alex Wells
    Thumb Up

    Anti-FB brigade

    So what you're all really saying is that you hate some people, and that some people really annoy you, and that Facebook has brought that to your attention... thanks for that.

    Facebook allows people to communicate, in fact in some cases it's replaced me using a mobile phone (for instance to arrange weekend away etc) how can that be a bad thing?

    You can turn alerts and annoying emails off, you can set privacy pretty well as long as you pay attention, and there's half a billion people there who might not be as irritating as the people you describe.

    Cheer up!

    (fact that it knows what i did when i was seven and never told anybody is a bit scary though)

  23. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Is that 500,000,000 *people*

    on the basis that two people I know have facebook pages for their dogs, I would question the value of that figure ....

    You know we have the iFan/iHate icons. Any chance of FB Love/FB Hate icons ?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Is that 500,000,000 *people*

      No. You could try expressing your opinion with words instead.

      1. jake Silver badge


        "with words instead", says the woman sporting the vulture icon ...

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Uh-huh.

          Hey, I've *earned* it.

          1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Re: Uh-huh.

            And I use words quite a lot.

            In all, that was a rubbish attempt at a smackdown. 2/10. Must try harder.

          2. jake Silver badge


            We don' need no steenkin' badges!

            (note lack of "badgers" icon. Works anyway, right? Or would, if I didn't have to explain it. Ah, sod it ... the vet's here, gotta run. Have a cuppa on me :-)

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Half a billion bloated egos

    Makes you wonder how we can move around without bumping into them all the time.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Recovering FB addict

    At one point I used to enjoy FB, this was back in the day when it was just becoming fashionable to be on FB but unforunately now like the Jesusphone all the chavs have one so its less appealing.

    Well ok thats not entirely true I enjoyed FB when it was just my friends, ex girlfriend and other potential ladies but now my whole family is on it and they watch everything that is typed down, so its less fun poking some random girl when you mum asks "who is that girl"...

    Hate FB now..

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I feel tempted

    I am not part of that half billion people but all this FB hate is actually almost pushing me to give it a try.... I have a couple of FB invites that have been sitting in my inbox for months... I might just click those links publish all my best kept secrets online and join the forces of EVIL!

  27. Ian Ferguson

    Somewhere, in a dark damp room...

    ...the manager at ITV responsible for Friends Reunited is crying into a hanky.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    See i've told you all.......

    1/2 billion people can be wrong.

  29. Lee Dowling Silver badge


    It's a communications medium. Don't like it, don't use it. But equally, don't whinge about other people using it just because you don't like it.

    My mum and dad can grasp Facebook and we use it for family-photo-sharing and gossip. I have my cousins, my brother, my ex, all on my lists and we use it to keep in touch when things aren't worth a specific phone call, or to share baby-photos, etc. It's not ideal in all senses but it works and we can keep in touch with people thousands of miles away.

    I have to re-iterate a post here... if your Facebook account sucks, it's because your "friends" on there are dull, uninteresting, illiterate, etc. I think that says as much about you than it does your friends. If ALL you get are pointless status updates and nothing else, then why the hell would you add that person or keep them on your list? At best, just hide their posts. Remember - you CHOSE to be updated on everything that person posts. It can happen that someone is more dull / pedantic than you knew but that's what the "ignore/hide" functions are for - they get them off your screen without offending that person.

    I don't expect my friends to be interested in 99% of what I write on there. But when my Mondeo recently hit a very nice man in a Jaguar, I posted the photo of the damage on Facebook so that my dad could see it (he can't handle MMS, bless him, and it was the easiest way). I then got notes of concern from several friends. I don't expect Joe-Bloggs-that-I-knew-at-school to care but if he wants to comment, or offer me a spare vehicle, or knows of a breaker's yard, etc. then he can.

    Like everything else, it's a communications medium. FriendsReunited fulfilled some of its purposes a while ago but died when they started charging more and more for less and less, and Facebook does it in a more modern fashion (the photo-tagging thing alone is worth it!). You still have to filter what you take from it, and it does offer a lot of customisability about exactly what you see, but it's no worse than an IRC channel with your tech-savvy friends on, or a shared message board on the fridge.

    If you don't understand it, it's because you've not actually tried it and/or you're not using it properly. Sign up, log in, add your *FRIENDS* and family, filter as appropriate. It's really quite useful.

  30. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    I don't hate FB

    I don't hate FB, but I find it directionless.

    I am a member of DeviantArt, a paid member. I find DA useful as a place to display my photos I have taken and share my interest in art and photography. I occasionally blog about some crap that is getting up my nose, but DA has a focus. The focus on art and expression keeps people coming back and gives the site a purpose. I can't get behind FB as I find the fact that is exists purley as nothing more than a social club, without giving anything tangible back to the users who support it.

    Contrary to popular belief DA is not populated by 14 year girls taking snaps of themselves lying in puddles of fake blood...actually it is, but there are a large number of artists and photographers of all ages who do not take stupid pictures of their dog/cat/iguana and put a silly caption!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    None of the functionality offered by twatface, err facebook......

    was not already available.

    Ms Bee is clearly upset her peers are slating it.

    The reality is, only the people you actually make time to socialise with are your friends. Not some one you know through someone you know on a web site.

    Personally I call my mates, I go to see them, I email them and I SMS them. All of these facilities allow me to exchange witty and interesting things, organise my life and invite me to things.

    You dont need to follow a crowd. Your capable of doing all of this and more without twatface.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: None of the functionality offered by twatface, err facebook......

      Why do people always assume I'm 'upset'? I just find it bemusing how worked up commentards get about Facebook. And how they trot out the smug line about how they have REAL friends in REAL life. Sigh. It's just wearying.

      Wearying, fella, not 'upsetting'. Still, we women are emotional creatures. Maybe I'm upset but I don't know it. I JUST DON'T KNOW ANY MORE. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND MYSELF.

    2. Justabloke 1


      well bully for you!

      I do all of those things AND maintain contact with *family* that live all over the world, we share quick pictures with each other and often on the back of a note or a picture a *gasp* phonecall is instigated... seriously a lot of you guy's and gal's really need to get your shit in perspective.

      And yes, it has also enhanced my opportunites for sex and that my friend is no bad thing at my time of life ;)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh no

    I think i've just wasted more time reading these comments than I did by catching up on last night's status updates...

  33. T-net

    "Frittered Time"

    I spend more time than that ascribed to Facebook on browsing The Register. Perhaps the destruction of mankind as we know it can be directly attributed to The Register more so than to Facebook?

  34. shawnfromnh

    Right 500 million users

    I don't even believe they have 500 million users. They might have 500 million accounts but not current users. MySpace is supposed to have almost 1/4 billion users but if you do a search for a certain age group and location within so many miles etc to get your browse down to lets say 200 people.

    Well I did that and it seems that about 1/3 haven't logged in for over a year and maybe 40 of them haven't logged in for over 2 years. I wonder if even 100 million or more of them accounts have been abandoned forever or even more and the users either forgot their username password or just think it's to much effort to delete the account. That doesn't even count on multiple accounts like on MySpace where a friend of mine a few years back had over a dozen accounts with different emails for each one.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like