A birthday is a celebration of the years lived, but if you hardly appreciate yourself you may never find a reason or need to celebrate. That said, Facebook is turning 11 tomorrow, February, 4 and despite experiencing an almost one hour blackout earlier last week, the social network has every reason to celebrate.
In the same period last year, people around the world sang to the tune of wishing Facebook a better year ahead and true to the wishes, the company has shown its commitment to grow its presence as well as help improve the lives of people around the world.
WhatsApp Is Now Better
Facebook now owns the popular mobile messaging platform WhatsApp, after it successfully completed a 22 Billion Dollars acquisition in October last year. Just three months after the acquisition, WhatsApp announced it had reached 700 million active users as of January this year, a significant growth from the 600 million recorded in August, 2014.
The instant messaging platform is growing in popularity around the world, with WhatsApp founder and CEO Jan Koum announcing, through a Facebook post, that users send at least 30 billion messages every day.
Facebook also owns the instant photo-sharing app Instagram, also growing in user base to reach 300 million users as of December, 2014 and expected to reach at least 1 billion users in the next five years, according to Mark Zuckerberg.
Apart from the two, Zuckerberg moved to acquire various companies in 2014, with every acquisition being deemed as necessary for the future that is to come where people will need a variety of different services all under one platform.
Some of the companies acquired include a voice recognition firm called Wit.a.i, that was bought out earlier this year. Wit.ai focuses on building technology meant to understand voice commands as well as texts, allowing users to speak directly to their machines, giving them commands.
Away from the acquisitions and off to how Facebook contributed to improving lives for people around the world, especially in the African continent, where fortunately or unfortunately there is the constant need for people to be helped in a kind of way.
Contribution To Ebola Fight
Ebola struck the West Africa region, and as charitable it is for Facebook CEO Zuckerberg, donations were sent in various forms to aid those affected by the deadly virus. Zuckerberg personally donated 25 Million Dollars and his network launched a donation kitty in partnership with UNICEF that would allow people to donate money from their Facebook accounts.
Also in the Ebola support, the social network provided about 100 mobile satellite communication terminals for the worst stricken regions including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to aid in mobile broadband and telephony services in the rural regions where there is hardly any infrastructure.
Free Basic Internet Services
Then there was the Internet.org app that helps users connect to the internet at no charge at all for access of the basic services that include news, health information, education, agribusiness, online shopping, jobs as well as the day to day socializing on Facebook without any data charges.
At a time where people are being advised to come online in facilitation of better, quick and effective services on a day to day basis, Internet.org is a solution that is expected to grow in usage especially in Africa where most people can hardly afford extra money for data.
The other good thing about the free internet service is that it supports all devices with an internet connection, even the 2,000 bob Kabambe that provides for internet connection. I also believe there are cheaper phones that support internet connection, and a user would only be required to visit the internet.org site to access the supported sites.
Internet.org is currently operational in Kenya, Zambia and recently in Ghana through a partnership with Bharti Airtel. The app is also available in Tanzania through collaboration with Tigo and to top five countries, the service was also introduced in Colombia.
Help In Finding Missing Children
To add on initiatives to help improve people’s lives, Facebook is now contributing in the search for missing children through a new service where it will be posting AMBER alerts on users’ news feed to help in the search. Facebook believes word of mouth is best, and as people have used the platform successfully before, the network believes the move will be beneficial.
This AMBER Alerts initiative, is however not available for the folk in Africa at the moment but there is no harm in hoping that it will be made available soon. In any case, the continent in scarred with the need to be helped and Facebook is always looking out for an opportunity to help give back to its loyal customers.
Growth In Numbers
A recent report from Facebook shows that people access the site more often through their mobiles than on desktops, recording daily mobile users at 1.19 billion and monthly mobile active users at 745 million as of December 31, 2014.
Combined users of the Facebook platform on a monthly basis have registered a growth of 13 per cent to stand at 1.39 billion as of the end of last year.
This is proof that mobile is taking the front in internet access and the trend should be expected to last throughout the year and grow as new technology and low cost mobile devices continue to enter the market.
Reporting its financial results last week, the social network has superseded expectations by posting quarterly revenue of up to 63 per cent from the previous year, a growth it attributes to its flourishing mobile advertising business that contributed 69 per cent in revenue for the same period.
Since its introduction on February 4, 2004, Facebook has continued to record significant growth year on year. Facing challenges along the way, with doubts from investors if the company’s multiple acquisitions are worthwhile, Zuckerberg has defended the importance of every one of them.
So far, none has disappointed. Along the way Facebook has reminded us of birthdays that skipped our minds and as it has broken relationships so has it mended. In that very note, here at JUUCHINI, we wish Facebook a Happy Birthday as it turns 11 years tomorrow.