Facebook, Now With 2 Billion Users, Changes Mission and Tries to Address Criticism

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), which said this week that the number of its users had reached 2 billion, is shifting gears in its mission statement and looking to combat extremism on its platforms as the largest social media app tries to take greater responsibility for its burgeoning influence in people’s daily lives.

The latest announcement about the user milestone from Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg follows an announcement from the social media kingpin that Facebook was changing its mission statement and looking to engage communities rather than individuals. Zuckerberg said on a Facebook post:

We want to help 1 billion people join meaningful communities. If we can do this it will not only reverse the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen around the world … but it will also strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together.

Facebook’s milestone comes as the social-media colossus has been under fire for how it has handled the dissemination of so-called fake news. It is also taking a more prominent role in combating terrorism. To take steps to address extremism on its platforms, Facebook and other technology companies Monday formed the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

Facebook, which went public in 2012, passed the 1 billion user mark in the third quarter of that year. It was the first social media network to do so, according to online statistics portal Statista.

Facebook’s announcement follows the announcement last week that YouTube now has 1.5 billion logged-in users, putting the video-sharing site second behind Facebook.

Messaging apps WhatsApp and Messenger, which are owned by Facebook, have more than 1.2 billion monthly active users, and Instagram has more than 700 million monthly active users, according to Forbes.

Facebook has been on an upward trajectory since it was founded 13 years ago by Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin. After moving to Palo Alto, California, in June 2004, Facebook launched Facebook Wall in September 2004, where people could post messages. By December 1 of that year, Facebook had 1 million active users, according to a timeline on its website.

Here are the user totals year by year.

Facebook users by year

2004 1 million
2005 6 million
2006 12 million
2007 58 million
2008 100 million
2009 360 million
2010 608 million
2011 845 million
2012 1.056 billion
2013 1.228 billion
2014 1.393 billion
2015 1.591 billion
2016 1.860 billion

Sources: Facebook Inc., Statista