Facebook's growth goes faster and faster and faster

Less than a month after hitting 130 million members, the social network hits 140 million. Would faster-than-expected growth throw its cost management plan into flux?

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
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.
Caroline McCarthy

Facebook is still growing like wildfire: earlier this week, the social network put out stats that peg its active-user count at 140 million.

Inside Facebook blogger Justin Smith compared this to the date that Facebook said it hit 130 million members, and estimated that Facebook must be growing by a whopping 600,000 or 700,000 users per day.

We've checked in with Facebook to see if it has an official comment on that estimation; earlier this year, the company's network was growing by 250,000 users per day.

Statistics firms like Nielsen, ComScore, and Compete.com all have found Facebook's U.S. user count to be between 47 million and 50 million--still smaller than the 60 million-ish U.S. visitors that rival MySpace pulls in. But Facebook's growth is primarily overseas now, and its international pull is responsible for those skyrocketing numbers.

This brings back that persistent blogger pundit question: can Facebook's revenues keep pace with that kind of growth?

Especially overseas, server power can be costly. Facebook has raised a ton of venture capital, is reportedly hunting for more, and says it's in good financial shape. That comes back into question, however, if it's growing faster than it ever expected to.