- Facebook has 2.3 million users – more than followers of Christianity.
- Despite various privacy scandals, studies have shown people are steadily loyal to the site.
- The company’s mantra has always been about bringing “the world closer together,” yet the number of new users being added to the social media platform has slowed in recent months.
Monday marks the 15th anniversary of the website once known as Thefacebook.com. In the decade and a half since Mark Zuckerberg created the social network with some classmates in his Harvard dorm room, Facebook has exploded in popularity.
It’s reigned as the world’s largest social networking service for years. But as of the end of 2018, Facebook has a new claim to fame: It now has more monthly users than there are followers of the world’s largest religion, Christianity.
With 2.32 billion monthly users, Facebook’s audience tops the world’s roughly 2.3 billion Christians (though the number for Christians is from 2015).
From an early stage, the company, and Zuckerberg himself, made it a priority to bring “the world closer together” – a sentiment echoed so widely the site is often referred to as internet itself in some parts of the world.
But while Facebook’s flagship social network now counts the equivalent to nearly one-third of the world’s population, there is widespread discussion about whether it’s reach has peaked.
After a year of bruising privacy scandals and evidence of orchestrated disinformation campaigns on the network, Facebook’s reputation has taken a hit. Studies have shown steady loyalty to the site, but declining engagement rates.
And Facebook itself is moving away from using its user-count as the yardstick by which its success is measured. During the company’s recent earnings call, management said the company would gradually switch to reporting the total number of users for Facebook’s “family” of apps, which includes Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
By that measure, the Facebook family now counts 2.7 billion monthly users.
Whether or not the users of Facebook’s various apps consider themselves “followers,” there’s no denying the massive influence of the 15-year-old company.