Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that two billion people are now using the social network he launched in a college dorm room 13 years ago.
Among tech companies obsessed with boosting their active user counts, Facebook's milestone is significant both for its staggering size—more than a quarter of the world's population—and the transformation of Facebook from a curiosity among college students to a social, cultural, and political mainstay in countries worldwide.
"As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people!" Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Tuesday morning. "We're making progress connecting the world, and now let's bring the world closer together. It's an honor to be on this journey with you."
Since Facebook reached its last billion milestone, in 2012, it has added several new controversial features. Its members have broadcast graphic footage using a new live video tool, including some of police shootings that sparked debates over police brutality and violent protests around America. It overhauled its "trending topics" section to suppress fake news stories that played a significant role in the 2016 presidential election.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
And perhaps most crucially, Facebook paired its rampant user growth with a profitable and pervasive advertising network. Facebook's profitability has not only enriched shareholders, but also recently allowed the company to pursue "moonshot" projects like building a giant laser-equipped drone designed to beam Internet access to underserved communities.
Whatever happens next for Facebook, it is clear that the company won't stop courting new users, including through acquiring or spinning off standalone apps and services. Those include the Messenger app, which was once an inconspicuous add-on to the main Facebook platform, but now has more than one billion active users by itself.
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe