Facebook Hits Half-Billion With a B-


As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears on U.S. TV tonight to reveal Facebook’s 500 millionth user during a pre-taped ABC News special with Diane Sawyer, the social networking maven may be dismayed that the site has flunked a key customer satisfaction survey.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s first survey of social media indicates that Facebookers are still sore at its recent privacy flap, ad push and interface tweaks.[more]

The ACSI report gave Facebook a so-so score, just one point above MySpace, with the comment:

Coming in well below both Wikipedia and YouTube are the two largest U.S. social networking websites, Facebook and MySpace, with ACSI scores of 64 and 63, respectively. Facebook, which boasts approximately 500 million registered users worldwide, was the upstart to MySpace’s market leader just 5 years ago, but these roles now have been reversed. Still, controversies over privacy issues, frequent changes to user interfaces, and increasing commercialization have positioned the big social networking sites at satisfaction levels well below other websites and similar to poor-performing industries like airlines and subscription TV service (both 66). While privately-held Facebook continues to attract new members from virtually all age groups, MySpace’s dwindling traffic and page views may soon cost the website (owned by media giant News Corp.) its once-lucrative advertising partnership with Google.

Facebook has been asking users to submit their “Facebook stories” to feature in its half-billion user promotional activities. Previously, user anecdotes have been featured as part of the “Your Stories” section of Facebook’s official blog.

Facebook Stories, in contrast, will feature organized the submitted, 420-character-or-less anecdotes by geography or theme—like, “finding love,” “coping with grief” and “natural disasters,” reports AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher.

Users will be able to link their stories to their Facebook profiles while others will be able to comment on and “Like” the stories.

Facebook also recently announced that it had reached a milestone of 150 million mobile users, up about 50% since April.

“Mobile is fast-becoming our growth lever,” said Erick Tseng, Facebook’s head of mobile products, at Venturebeat’s MobileBeat conference earlier this month. “As we begin to continue to expand, we’re starting to go into geographies where phones are the predominant way you access the web. Mobile is a way we can get users to be aware of and engage with social services.”

The site’s execs are also grappling with brand fallout from advance peeks at the upcoming (Oct. 1) movie The Social Network, a less than flattering depiction of its roots in Zuckerberg’s Harvard days, as depicted by writer/producer Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher: