According to a Pew research Center report, Facebook’s number of monthly users is now higher than the population of people in the world who profess the Islamic faith. The number of monthly users on the platform is also close to surpassing the number of those who identify as Christians. Currently Christianity is the religion with the highest number of followers with about 2.3 billion people professing the faith.
By mid this year the number of daily active users on Facebook was 1.32 billion while the number of monthly active users was 2.01 billion. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive officer of Facebook, is on record as having said that the social media giant could serve the purpose of filling the void that has come about as a result of a decline in civil and religious communities in the United States. Overall Americans are joining fewer community groups and becoming less religious. The level of trust among fellow citizens has also declined to record lows.
Sense of belonging and purpose
“That’s a lot of people who now need to find a sense of purpose and support somewhere else,” Zuckerberg said in Chicago mid this year.
Facebook’s growth in user base which has been averaging 22% per annum is also faster than the fastest growing religion – Islam which is growing at a rate of 1.4% annually. Though the rate of growth in users for Facebook is expected to decline as the size increases, it is expected that the number will still be higher than that of Christianity.
Besides rivalling the population of the world’s biggest religions, Facebook also has more members than the number of speakers of any world language. Currently Mandarin is the most widely spoken language with about 1.3 billion Chinese counting it as their native tongue.
With rapid growth Zuckerberg revealed to CNN Tech that the mission statement of the social media platform has had to change as a result from one which aimed at enhancing the openness and connectedness of the world to one which aims at enhancing bonds in the world’s population.
Besides the main Facebook app, the social media giant also owns three other platforms which are among some of the top five largest communities online – Instagram and WhatsApp. The two other top five communities are Chinese services and they are TenCent and WeChat.
Some of the growth strategies Facebook has adopted includes aggressively acquiring any platform which it sees as the next frontier of audience growth.