Facebook hits 1 billion users, Zuckerberg asks for your cash

Facebook has 1 billion active users, and is now allowing you to promote your own posts -- for a fee.

The Internet monster that is Facebook continues to consume -- site founder Mark Zuckerberg today proclaimed that the social network has 1 billion active users. Excuse us while we sing a little song .

That's about a seventh of Earth's population (how do we know what the other 6 billion are up to?), though the site's growth appears to be slowing slightly -- Facebook hit the 500 million milestone in July 2010 and 750 million in 2011, but took until October this year to reach 1 billion.

You may also be interested to know that the average age of people on Facebook is dropping. In 2007 it was 26, in 2010 it was 23 and now it's just 22. Back when it first started as a network for college kids, the average age was 19.

Meanwhile Zuckerberg and pals are looking for new ways to pry you away from your cash -- the site is rolling out a new system that lets you pay to promote your own posts, rocketing you to the top of the social ladder.

"When you promote a post -- whether it's wedding photos, a garage sale or big news -- you bump it higher in news feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it," the site explains, while rubbing its hands together greedily.

The new feature is currently only available in the US, with The Verge reporting that sponsoring a post will set you back about $7 (about £4.35), a small price to pay to shove photos of your baby to the top of everyone else's feed.

Is promoting posts a good idea, or will it ruin Facebook? What's next for the social network? Tell us in the comments or on our very own Facebook wall.

About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.


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