Facebook has claimed the throne of the internet's most active website. With ongoing innovations and features that allow users to share news stories, pictures and now even locations, Facebook is revolutionizing social media. As Mark Zuckerberg's brainchild grows its appeal to online advertisers, Facebook is expected to move forward with an IPO in 2012.

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Prior to going public, Facebook will have to properly address the privacy issues that have landed the company in hot water with the media in the preceding months. With more than 500 million users, Facebook is currently valued at nearly $25 billion and is expecting 2010 sales of $1.4 billion.

Actual Worth/Growth Difficult To Forecast

Because Facebook is a private company, it does not publicly disclose financial results. Thus the company's actual worth/growth is difficult to forecast. The firm is speculated to generate most of its revenue from service advertisements, Microsoft advertisements and brand advertisements. Virtual goods make up a much smaller yet significant portion of total revenue.

According to data provided by ComScore, August internet users spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook, while Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) were allocated 39.8 million and 37.7 million minutes, respectively.

Facebook Is No.4 In Unique Visitors

In terms of unique visitors, Facebook ranks fourth behind Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) sites, but well ahead of sites operated by Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) and a wide variety of online conglomerates. Of the top 50 U.S. internet properties, Twitter is in 50th place, lagging Facebook by 83%.

Global Growth

Currently, an estimated 10% of web-surfing time is dedicated to social networks, where Facebook has the lion's share of the market. In addition to the growing North American demographic, the social networking phenomenon is expanding to international borders. Russia, South Korea and Germany have seen 74%, 57% and 47% year-over-year growth, respectively, in social media usage.

India, where Facebook recently claimed the top spot, has experienced growth of 43%. Facebook has also tripled its size in Mexico, while the total internet usage increased by only 21% over the past year.

Users Not Restricted To Laptop Or Desktop Computers

With the help of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and Research in Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM) Blackberry, Facebook users are not restricted to their desktop and laptop computers for checking updates and reading wall posts. In fact, the controversial "place" feature provides mobile users the motivation to check Facebook when they are away from their homes.

Bottom Line

Facebook has grown from a small college networking tool to a mass marketing/media machine. It has changed the way people interact and stay up to date with current social and news-related events. As social networking continues to gain international acceptance, Facebook will continue to grow. (For more reading about Facebook, see 6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes.)

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