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Some Facebook stats

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Just happened across Facebook's statistics page.

A couple of thoughts:

They have over 500 million active users, and 70% of users are outside the US. If the latter stat refers to active users, that means that the number of Americans on Facebook is very roughly 30% of 500 million, or about 150 million. The total population of the US was 307 million people in mid-2009 (and that presumably includes children too young to use a computer).

Which means that roughly half of the entire US population is on Facebook. If I'm reading their stats page right, and if I'm not making mistakes in my calculations.

(Presumably it's a significantly higher percentage of the US computer-using population; as of mid-2008, 20% of US households didn't have Internet access, though that number has likely dropped a fair bit in the past two years (it was 29% in 2006). Then again, that survey was focused on email (which I gather is becoming increasingly irrelevant to today's youth); and one-third of the US population uses the Internet at public libraries, and the most popular use is social networking. So I'm not sure how big the US non-computer-using population is at this point.)

Second: “People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.” That's about 1400 minutes per month per active user, or 23 hours a month, or about 45 minutes a day.

And going in the other direction: There are about 43,800 minutes in the average month, and there are about 6.7 billion people in the world. So humanity's total amount of time to spend per month is about 293.7 trillion minutes.

Which means that roughly 0.2% of all of humanity's time is spent on Facebook; call it three and a half minutes per day per living human. That doesn't seem like much when you put it that way, but it's not often that I come across specific activities that can usefully be thought of in terms of percentage of all of humanity's time spent on them. (Beyond the basic activities that've been around for centuries or millennia, I mean.)

4 Comments

Does "over 700 billion minutes" include people who leave their logged-in Facebook tab open all day?


I know people with multiple accounts--one account for real friends, and one used for game boosts and people they don't really know. That may skew the results a little.


Interesting. I assume the numbers of "people" on Facebook include inanimate objects like buildings--our firm put a couple of our residential condo buildings on Facebook as part of our marketing programs and one building ended up with over 400 friends (what does that say about the state of humanity?). In fact, as an aside, one of the earliest original employees of FB bought one of the condos (all cash, of course). There are probably not enough buildings on Facebook to have a material impact on the numbers but you never know...what if FB engineers as a "black operations" marketing scheme put 100 million inanimate objects on FB to increase FB's user count?

And finally, I wonder how people like me figure into the stats Jed cites above...I have a FB account that I look at maybe once per month and I have posted maybe one or two things in two years.


j7y: Good question; dunno how they track minutes of usage.

Dawn: Yeah, good point; I too know some people who have more than one account. But my guess (totally unsupported by evidence) is that that's no more than about 1% of the FB population.

Jay: Discussions of "active users" usually means things like "people who signed in to their FB accounts in the past 30 days" or in the past 7 days or whatever. That FB stats page doesn't say what their definition is, so they may well be including buildings, organizations, companies, etc; no way to know. But fwiw, I would guess (again with no evidence) that they're likely to be counting only individual people.


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