Facebook: the largest mobile social network?

Mobile Twitter growth in 2009 astonishing, but Facebook still rules Web 2.0

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
January 26, 2010
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On the fourth anniversary of the launch of Opera Mini, Opera today presented its first State of the Mobile Web Report in 2010, taking a close look at the unstoppable global rise of social networking, especially Facebook and Twitter.

Despite only pinning down a small fraction of the browser market share (less than Mozilla Firefox, less than Apple Safari, less than Google Chrome), Opera maintains a strong showing in the mobile sector with Opera Mini, a popular browser on mobile devices used around the world.

Opera Report

Using data tracked from Opera Mini users, the browser maker found that in 2009 Facebook grew by just over 600%, dethroning the ever-popular Russia-based VKontakte as the top social network of the year.

Facebook, which topped 350 million global users in early December, is clearly the world's biggest social network and, based on Opera's data, probably the world's biggest mobile social network as well.

And Facebook knows it.

It seems like every week the company expands, changes, or refines some aspect of its site: this week the company announced its intention to construct a massive data center in Oregon to support the needs of all the network's new and future users.

As to the ever-present question of the public option, two major Facebook investors, Jim Breyer of Accel Partners and Yuri Milner of DST, claimed yesterday that the number one social network in the world has no plans for a 2010 IPO:

"We have permanent capital, we don’t have to return money to investors, so we have unlimited patience," said Milner. "We want to have the vision follow-through. It is up to the board and management to make the call."

Zuckerberg couldn't have said it better himself. In fact, when Facebook set up a dual-class stock structure in late November, identical to a move made by Google before it went public in 2004, the company quickly shot down swirling rumors of impending IPO.

Opera report 

The other important bit in Opera's report was Twitter's mobile growth: an almost 3000% spike in users.

Though this really isn't new information for those who have been following Twitter's growth across all avenues, it reaffirms the microblogging site's incredible potential. While the site's growth may have slacked quite a bit towards the tail-end of 2009, the site still has all of 2010 to prove that it can still grow.

Notably, every site on the top ten saw positive growth, except Friendster, which saw a 29% decline in 2009. Curiously, the site was not acquired by online payments company MOL Global until the year was nearly over. Whether the site's decline will continue with its new owners remains to be seen.

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