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Facebook: 1 billion users. What's next for the social network?

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(Read caption) It has been a good couple of years for Facebook.

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In July of 2010, Facebook hit the 500-million-member mark. Now, some 26 months later, the newly-public company has rattled past a new milestone: A billion users, the most ever for a social network, and a vertiginous leap from Facebook's humble beginnings as the brainchild of Harvard drop-out Mark Zuckerberg. In a letter to users this week, Zuckerberg said the moment was a "special" one for him. 

"We belong to a rich tradition of people making things that bring us together," Zuckerberg wrote. "Today, we honor this tradition. We honor the humanity of the people we serve. We honor the everyday things people have always made to bring us together: Chairs, doorbells, airplanes, bridges, games. These are all things that connect us. And now Facebook is a part of this tradition of things that connect us too."

Some perspective: The total population of the globe is estimated to be 7 billion people. That means roughly 14 percent of the human race uses Facebook. According to Facebook, a majority of those users – 60 percent – access the social network through a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. (Also, can we backtrack to consider the essential strangeness of Zuckerberg's statement? Doorbells?)

The big question, of course, is what's next for Facebook.


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