Despite privacy rollbacks that have angered users, Facebook's growth has continued; but although users continue to join, that growth rate has slowed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged.
"We saw our exponential growth rate continue for a very long period of time, and it still does at a super-linear rate, though not quite 3% a week any more," he said in an interview with Inside Facebook. Last year, the social networking site's user numbers went from 150 to 350 million. Currently, there are just under 500 million monthly active users, he said.
Gawker's Ryan Tate pointed out that because Facebook is leveraged using venture capital, its backers "will surely be concerned about any significant deceleration," and any possible future privacy scuffles with users aren't likely to help.
However, Facebook is looking to other markets to help boost its growth rate, the Financial Times reported today. Zuckerberg told the Cannes Lions advertising festival that Facebook won't reach the one billion user mark this year, but things are "looking really promising three to five years out."
China, Russia, South Korea and Japan are the only markets where Facebook is not bigger than local social networks, but those countries are reaching a tipping point. There are now more than 1 million users each in Japan, Korea and Russia, and users numbers double every six months in Russia, according to the FT.
When Inside Facebook mentioned that Facebook's revenues for 2010 are estimated to be between US$1 billion and $1.1 billion, Zuckerberg responded by saying only that "it's really hard to predict this stuff," but noted that if predictions are low or high, Facebook corrects them, because inaccurate estimates can cause problems.