Facebook Reaches 500 Million Milestone
AUDIE CORNISH, host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. Guy Raz is away. I'm Audie Cornish.
We begin this hour with a milestone like no other. Earlier this week, someone somewhere in the world pulled up a chair to a computer, opened a Web browser, and logged on to Facebook for the very first time. That person was the 500 millionth to register on the site. In a moment, a conversation with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
But first, a little bit about how we got here, how Facebook became a cultural force and changed the way half a billion people communicate. It all started in a dorm room in 2004, as a way to connect with other people at college.
Mr. CHRIS HUGHES (Co-Founder, Facebook.com): Then, you know, later on in the all-freshman dining hall, or at one of those super-awkward ice cream socials, it might be much easier to start up a conversation.
RENEE MONTAGNE: That is Chris Hughes, a junior at Harvard. He is co-founder of the getting-to-know-you website, thefacebook.com.
(Soundbite of music)
MONTAGNE: Thefacebook.com started at Harvard only about seven months ago.
Mr. HUGHES: A book of everyone's little, mini picture and then, like, two or three tidbits of information.
MONTAGNE: It has spread to nearly 70 colleges and universities, almost 200,000 users.
Unidentified Man #1: I like listening to music...
Unidentified Man #2: Basketball.
Unidentified Man #1: ...board games.
Unidentified Man #2: Making cool things out of foil.
Mr. HUGHES: I don't see people sitting around in dorm rooms and dreaming about being friends with people.
MONTAGNE: Reports today suggests that Yahoo may be interested in buying Facebook, that's the social networking website, $1 billion - with a B.
Unidentified Man #3: Well, you know, these social networking sites let people post pictures and create Web page, talk to each other.
STEVE INSKEEP: This is a busy time for the social networking business called facebook.com.
Unidentified Woman #2: Social network.
Unidentified Woman #3: The average user has 130 friends on the site.
Unidentified Man #4: Really, really genuinely...
Mr. DAVID LETTERMAN (Host, "The Late Show with David Letterman"): The Top 10 Signs You're Obsessed With...
Unidentified Woman #4: Hate(ph) Facebook.
Mr. LETTERMAN: ...Facebook.
Unidentified Man #5: The social networks are profoundly changing the definition of what we consider private.
INSKEEP: Starting today, anybody can join, which has provoked a backlash among some members...
Mr. MARK ZUCKERBERG (CEO, Facebook.com): People like exclusivity.
Unidentified Woman #5: Nine million or so people online...
Mr. ZUCKERBERG: You know, that's not something we're going to talk about.
MONTAGNE: Facebook, the website, is inviting technology companies and programmers - add features to the site.
Unidentified Woman #6: Only people at your own school or people you know can see it.
MONTAGNE: They're aiming to overtake MySpace...
Unidentified Woman #6: Sketchy people can get on it now.
MONTAGNE: ...and become the social operating system for the Internet.
Unidentified Woman #7: Its popularity is exploding.
JILLIAN(ph): My name is Jillian, and I am a Facebook addict.
Unidentified Woman #8: Three hundred million active users on Facebook, and about half of them log on, on any given day.
JILLIAN: At first, it was really just Internet thing, like MySpace, which I never really liked...
Unidentified Man #6: This is exploding so quickly...
JILLIAN: ...then I realized that it was a whole lot more.
(Soundbite of applause)
Unidentified Man #7: I love how it lets you update your status - like, with the most insignificant things you're doing in your life.
Ms. BETTY WHITE (Actor): I didn't know what Facebook was.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Ms. WHITE: And now that I do know what it is, I have to say it sounds like a huge waste of time.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Unidentified Man #8: Facebook.
Unidentified Man #9: Facebook.
Unidentified Man #10: This week after just six years, the social networking site Facebook reached...
Unidentified Woman #9: Facebook, everything from...
Unidentified Woman #10: Five hundred million...
Unidentified Woman #11: That's remarkable news.
Unidentified Woman #10: ...that's the mind-boggling number of users...
(Soundbite of voices)
Unidentified Woman #12: With a world without Facebook, I think I would die.
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