Jio’s Free Data Helps Facebook Near 2 Billion Users Mark

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Mumbai: Popular social network Facebook is set to become the first 2 billion-user company this year, according to a media report which attributed its “impressive” user growth to “promotional data plans” from countries like India.

Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users as of the end of 2016, up from 1.79 billion the previous quarter and 1.59 billion a year earlier, the company said in its fourth quarter earnings report.

Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said Facebook added more users this quarter compared to a year earlier than any quarter since the company went public in 2012. Wehner attributed the “impressive” user growth to “promotional data plans” from third parties in countries like India as well as Internet.org, Facebook’s free stripped-down Internet offering in developing markets, CNN reported.

Facebook is on track to hit 2 billion users later this year, a major milestone that no other Internet company has reached, said Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research, a technology research and advisory firm.

“Massive user growth year on year, and amazingly it’s accelerating despite the massive existing scale. It’s on track to become the first 2 billion-user company later this year,” Dawson was quote as saying by ‘USA Today’.

Facebook generated nearly USD 20 from each user in the US and Canada during the quarter, up from USD 13.70 a year earlier as it offers more lucrative video ads.

“Our business did well in 2016, but we have a lot of work ahead to help bring people together,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and cofounder, said in a statement.

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