Facebook: The Making of 1 Billion Users

Facebook never would have reached a billion users without its greatest strength—and weakness: Mark Zuckerberg’s “move fast, break things” philosophy
Illustration by 731 Lexington, Photographs by Getty; Dirk Bruniecki/laif/Redux

The team in charge of tracking Facebook’s growth works on the second floor of Building 17. Most days, the offices are like anywhere else at Facebook: whiteboards, toys on desks, shorts and flip-flops, pretty low-key. Around noon on Sept. 14, the second floor was packed. In one of the common areas, a giant screen showed the number of active Facebook users worldwide. About 100 people, including Mark Zuckerberg and his top lieutenants, watched the numbers run up by about a thousand users per minute: 999,980,000 … 999,990,000 … 1,000,000,000. The counter paused for a moment when it rounded 10 digits, as if to emphasize the point: 1 billion users.

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