Facebook Tops 100M User Mark in U.S. Despite Privacy Row

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-12-16 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Facebook is riding high as we move to close out 2009. ComScore says Facebook had over 100 million users in the United States in November. Hitwise says Facebook was the most popular search term overall in 2009. Facebook's growth has not come without hiccups, however. The Web 2.0 company refreshed its privacy policy in December, making user data more open by default but pointing out that users can change this as they see fit.

Leading social network Facebook, which has more than 350 million users worldwide, topped the 100-million-mark for monthly U.S. visitors in November, for the first time in the storied if not controversial history of the nearly 6-year-old company.

In reaching that plateau, Facebook.com joined a select group that includes Google Sites, Yahoo Sites and Microsoft Sites, and became the fourth-largest property in December in ComScore's top 50 Web rankings, behind those companies. Facebook also accounts for 5.5 percent of all time spent online in the United States, up from 2.5 percent in 2008, according to ComScore.

"In November 2004 it had a U.S. audience of about 2 million visitors and today it stands approximately 50 times that number," said Andrew Lipsman, director of industry analysis at ComScore. "Perhaps even more impressive is that clear acceleration in growth we've seen over the past year alone, in which Facebook has more than doubled its U.S. audience."

See Facebook's growth trajectory on ComScore here.  

In another first underscoring Facebook's meteoric rise, research company Hitwise said Facebook was the most-used search term overall from among 300 search keywords.

For perspective, Facebook held the 10th spot in Hitwise's calculations from 2008, while MySpace held the top spot for three consecutive years. How the mighty have fallen; MySpace has shed employees to cut costs and streamlined to focus on core interests such as music.

Facebook notched 0.67 percent of all searches, with four variations of the term "facebook" landing in the top 25 terms. MySpace, Craigslist, YouTube and Yahoo Mail rounded out the top five search terms.

Google was the most-visited Website for the second straight year, accounting for 6.7 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November, Hitwise said. This is fitting for a company that ComScore said continues to dominate the search market, with 65.6 percent of the U.S. search share.

Facebook's growth has not come without hiccups. In December Facebook refreshed its privacy policy, making user data more open by default but pointing out that users could change this as they see fit.

Bloggers and privacy advocates criticized the social networking company for this approach and Facebook relented a little, modifying its privacy setup to help users hide their friends lists.

Here is a list of seven Facebook privacy facts to consider, from the social network itself. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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