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Meta’s Facebook just reached another major milestone

Meta is a massive company, so massive numbers will come as little surprise to those who follow its fortunes.

Reporting its latest set of quarterly financial results on Wednesday, the California-based tech giant dropped some more big numbers, including a record figure for Facebook’s monthly active users: 3.08 billion.

Yes, you read that right — 3.08 billion, which marks an increase of 3% on a year ago. With 7.9 billion people on the planet, that’s 38.4% of the global population checking their Facebook account at least once a month. Not bad for an enterprise that started in a dorm room 19 years ago.

The figure is even more astonishing if you consider that China — population 1.4 billion — bans use of the platform within its borders. And then there are all the folks who don’t even have access to the internet. So in effect, Facebook is being used by more than half of the global population that has the ability to access it.

The social networking behemoth reached 1 billion monthly active users in 2012 before crossing the 2 billion mark in 2017. Six years on, it now has more than 3 billion accounts on its servers.

Most of those on Facebook are in India, with 314 million users as of January 2023, according to research firm Statista. The U.S., Indonesia, and Brazil each have well over 100 million people using the site.

Getting here has been far from smooth sailing, however, with plenty of controversies along the way, chief among them the Cambridge Analytica scandal that compromised the data of tens of millions of people — an event that had a role in prompting the business to rebrand from Facebook to Meta two years ago.

Meta is now the umbrella company for Facebook and messaging app Messenger, as well as its social media acquisitions such as Instagram and WhatsApp. A number of projects have come and gone, but its most recent, Threads, is a bold move to take on Twitter. It’s too early to say how it’s going to play out.

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