By Ken Yeung for Venture Beat
Facebook ($FB) has released its first-quarter 2017 earnings and revealed that it’s inching ever so close to having 2 billion people worldwide use the social network. It now counts 1.94 billion monthly active users, an 18 percent increase from a year ago. And 1.28 billion people use the service daily, making up 66 percent of the monthly count.
“We had a good start to 2017,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement. “We’re continuing to build tools to support a strong global community.”
There are approximately 7.3 billion people in the world, and now nearly 27 percent of them are using Facebook. It took the company eight years to hit 1 billion monthly users, but now it appears it’ll take five to get to 2 billion.
The company declined to state how many people were exclusively on mobile.
As for the average revenue per user (ARPU), Facebook saw a year-over-year increase from $3.32 in Q1 2016 to $4.23 in Q1 2017.
Facebook has had quite a busy quarter, launching a bevy of features and apps to incentivize users to either keep coming back or signing up for an account. Among its touted accomplishments includes a dedicated TV app to stream videos; a new tool enabling people to help one another following a disaster; adding support for job listings on Pages; bringing Snapchat Stories to more apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and the social network; generally releasing the first product featuring its M artificial intelligent assistant; acknowledging the impact of fake news shared on the social network; even contributing to a $14 million fund to aid in news integrity; and let’s not forget the slew of announcements that emerged from the company’s F8 developer conference last month.
The previous quarter was also marked by Mark Zuckerberg’s 6,000-word letterthat’s a manifesto for why we need communities and globalism, bucking sentiment from some world leaders and further sowing seeds about the Facebook chief’s potential presidential run in the future (he has denied it).
As Facebook moves forward, it’s in search of ways to overcome new issues around its rapid growth, such as diversity problems, properly tracking ad performance, and what to do about its Facebook Live problem. Zuckerberg has acknowledged that his company has to do more to combat the seemingly frequent livestreams of people killing others or themselves — earlier today, Facebook revealed it would hire 3,000 more people to review videos for murders or suicides.
Shares in the company were down 0.64 percent to close at $151.80. In after-hours trading, the stock was down more than 1 percent.