Facebook hosts 10 billion photos

The social network announces the milestone in a blog post. That's a heck of a lot of photos, requiring a heck of a lot of server space. Will revenues catch up with with server demands?

Facebook might not be a photo-sharing site, per se, but there are a heck of a lot of pictures uploaded to it.

On Tuesday night, engineer Doug Beaver wrote a blog post announcing that the total count of photos on the site now stands at about 10 billion. The social network announced informally in August that it has hit 100 million active users worldwide .

To compare, the News Corp.-owned Photobucket, which has a real-time ticker of photos uploaded, stood at slightly less than 6.2 billion photos on Wednesday morning. Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo, hit 2 billion photos just less than a year ago.

"To celebrate (the photo-hosting milestone), we got a bunch of cupcakes and handed them out to our engineering and operations groups," the post read. "One of our engineers calculated that if we had gotten one cupcake for each of our photos, and lined them up side by side, the line could reach halfway to the moon."

Facebook's popularity may indeed reach the moon, but the news is a bit troubling too. Beaver noted that Facebook stores four sizes of each image, meaning that it has more than 40 billion images stored on its servers. That's a lot of storage space required, and though it's much cheaper than it used to be, hardware simply isn't free.

Facebook reportedly borrowed $100 million in May to cover server costs, and while the company is still pretty much swimming in venture capital , it's not clear that revenues will be up to par with server demands any time soon. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week that the company hopes to be profitable in three years .

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


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