Facebook has reached the 500 million user plateau

Facebook today confirmed the popular social networking site now has more than 500 million active users, and continues to gain an impressive number of new users.

"This is an important milestone for all of you who have helped spread Facebook around the world," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the blog post.  "Now a lot more people have the opportunity to stay connected with the people they care about."

To help celebrate the 500 million milestone, Facebook launched the Facebook Stories application that gives users the chance to share their Facebook experiences.  The newly launched service wasn't a secret, but was promised when the site was ready.

The No. 1 social networking site has seen significant growth since its launch in 2004, but has faced numerous issues along the way.  Although most problems have been resolved and widely forgotten, there still are new issues Facebook must deal with. Privacy issues have gained the attention of several foreign governments.  The Canadian and German governments specifically are interested in possibly punishing Facebook for its obtrusive privacy issues.

Facebook also faces a low user satisfaction level, even though it continues to draw a reported 50 million new users each month.  The site has seen even stronger growth in foreign markets that didn't have a large social networking presence.

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