Facebook celebrated its twelfth birthday on Thursday, and in the twelve years that it’s been around, the social network has managed to accumulate more than 1.5 billion users. To be fair, a significant chunk of those users aren’t actually active on Facebook, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that about a fifth of the world’s population has a Facebook account. As impressive as that is, however, CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes that it’s only the beginning. According to him, Facebook is going to add 3.5 billion users over the next fourteen years, for a total of 5 billion by 2030. In order to do this, the company needs to help people in developing nations connect to the Internet, which is why it’s been investing in projects to increase Internet access in these areas, though not all of the projects have been well-received.
Facebook is marking its 12th anniversary today. After a stellar 2015, the company’s ambitions remain as grandiose as ever. On the social network itself, users have been treated to videos celebrating the friendships they’ve formed online. And Mark Zuckerberg is predicting you’ll be making plenty more connections on Facebook in the coming years. According to the Facebook founder and CEO, the platform’s user base will skyrocket to include an additional 3.5 billion people over the next 14 years. By Zuckerberg’s calculations, Facebook will have 5 billion users by 2030. He made the comments earlier this week at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. “We want to finish connecting everyone, we’re going to do it in partnership with governments and different companies all over the world,” Zuckerberg said in his first public appearance since returning from paternity leave following the birth of his daughter, Max. He was, of course, referring to Free Basics, his company’s free Internet initiative. Not everyone, however, will be pleased by Zuckerberg’s statement. Free Basics is already facing its fair share of obstacles in countries it aims to “connect,” including India (where it is currently blocked) and Egypt. Not to mention the criticism it has received from net neutrality advocates at home and abroad. Nonetheless, Free Basics is currently available in 25 countries across three continents.