Facebook Dominates Social Networking Landscape, Surpasses 250mm Mobile Users
Facebook’s dominance of social networking is on full display in the below chart recently released by Pingdom which shows every social network with over 1 MM daily visitors.
We expect Facebook’s membership to continue to grow, particularly in the less saturated demographics (55+) and in countries with lower penetration. But we also believe that there are massive opportunities for other networks that either offer a unique communications platform (e.g. Twitter), or meet vertical needs (e.g. LinkedIn for work, Badoo for dating).
Also this week, Facebook had several major mobile announcements. The announcement that got the most press was the revelation that Facebook had surpassed 250 million mobile users.
The second, and more meaningful, was the rollout of a major upgrade to its mobile platform (m.facebook.com).
On March 31st, Facebook announced:
“Today we’re excited to start rolling out a major upgrade to m.facebook.com that delivers the best possible mobile Web experience no matter what device you’re using. Previously, we solved this problem by building multiple versions of mobile Facebook: m.facebook.com for less feature-rich mobile devices and touch.facebook.com for touch devices.
There are two major problems with this approach:
- 2. Every time we launched a new feature, we had to build it multiple times across different code bases: once for facebook.com, then again for m.facebook.com, touch.facebook.com, and in native applications as well. Honestly, we weren’t very good at doing this, so certain features were missing on different devices.
With the new m.facebook.com, users with high-end touch devices will see a rich touch-friendly interface; for users with feature phones, the site will look and work great.”
The bottom line is that the world’s dominant social network has a keen appreciation for the global secular trend to mobile, and is operating its business accordingly.
As a Facebook spokesperson stated: “We think it’s important to provide an excellent mobile Web experience. Now, whenever we launch new features on the mobile site, they’ll be available on any mobile browser, presented in the best possible experience. We’re excited to roll out the new m.facebook.com site to everyone over the next few weeks.”
Facebook Continues to Build Its Washington Presence
Undoubtedly, one of the major risks to Facebook remains government regulations. Anytime a company gets as big and powerful as Facebook, the company attracts government scrutiny like moths to a flame. Facebook clearly recognizes this. In fact, Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, is a former Clinton administration official, and Facebook’s General Counsel (Ted Ullyot) is a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. So it’s no surprise to see Facebook continuing to take the appropriate measures to make sure that Washington understands and appreciates their perspective, and is best able to place Facebook’s actions in the right context.
The latest rumored addition to the Facebook Washington team is Robert Gibbs, the former Communications Director for President Obama. Gibbs would bring an intimate knowledge of Obama’s agenda as it relates to the regulatory issues facing Facebook, as well as strong relationships within the administration. Obama is widely perceived to be a fan of Facebook. One of Facebook’s founders, Chris Hughes, played an important role in Obama’s campaign by heading the Facebook Connect integration. More recently, Mark Zuckerberg sat next to the President at dinner as part of a group of tech titans that dined with Obama in Silicon Valley.
While the fight over talented programmers gets the most press in the Valley, recruiting the right talent in Washington D.C. may prove a similarly important key to Facebook’s future success.