Facebook (FB) just keeps on getting bigger.
The leading social networking website operator revealed on Thursday that it now has more than a billion active monthly users.
It's a beefy milestone. Facebook only had 955 million active monthly users as of the end of June.
"I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you," CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes. "Hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too."
Exodus? What Exodus?
Yes, Facebook is growing. But it's easy to believe otherwise.
The stock still trades sharply below its May IPO price of $38. Some reports earlier this year have indicated a slowdown in the growth of U.S. users -- -- if not an outright decline. (Zuckerberg isn't breaking down its billion users by region.)
Anecdotally, everyone knows people who have sworn off Facebook. In fact, it may well be you who deleted your Facebook account. However, weren't there also people doing that in 2011? 2010? 2009?
Get the picture? The critical consensus last year was that Netflix (NFLX) would be losing subscribers by the truckload after its poorly received summertime price hike. Well? Netflix now has a record 30 million accounts worldwide.
In the end, numbers don't lie. Even if Facebook is losing stateside users -- and we don't know that for sure -- the site is attracting far more people than it's losing on a worldwide basis.
The Long Road Back for the Stock
Facebook's path back to $38 won't be as easy as the road to a billion active Facebookers was. In retrospect, Facebook's only real crime was that it went public at a lofty $104 billion valuation. The company itself is still growing, and that was evident when it reported its first quarterly report as a public company. It's evident again with Zuckerberg's announcement on Thursday.
It has been making recent inroads in its monetization process, most recently by improving its ad targeting and the upcoming roll-out of Facebook Gifts, which allows users to send physical goods to their friends.
Cynics will argue that Facebook's popularity may not last forever. That is true, but we can no longer compare Facebook to fallen social networking pioneers Friendster and MySpace. After all, Facebook now has nearly 10 times as many users as MySpace had at its peak. More importantly, there are now more than 100 billion established friendship connections on Facebook, and that's something that will be hard to duplicate elsewhere.
Facebook isn't going away anytime soon, and there are now at least a billion people that are happy to hear that.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Netflix. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Netflix and Facebook and creating a bear put ladder position in Netflix.
Get info on stocks mentioned in this article: