NEW DELHI, July 15: A recent report claims that India has overtaken the United States in total number of Facebook users, becoming the social networking giant's top country by user base. The report pegs Indian users at 241 million, a shade ahead of the Unites States' 240 million. However, Facebook has contradicted the number, claiming the "monthly active" users - or those who log in at least once a month - in India stands at 201 million.
The report on technology news website The Next Web cited numbers reported to advertisers by Facebook. Citing slides from social media management platform Hootsuite and social media marketing and advertising agency We Are Social, it claims that India has 241 million "active" users, while the US stands at 240 million. Brazil is reported to stand a distant third with 139 million "active" users.
When contacted to confirm the TNW report, a Facebook spokesperson told TOI over email: "Facebook has 201 million monthly active users in India." In its first quarter earnings call in May this year, Facebook reported 234 million MAUs for USA and Canada together. Splitting the numbers between the two countries, it is possible that India indeed has taken over USA in number of Facebook users by now - a development Facebook has not confirmed.
Just last month, Facebook reported reaching the two billion mark in monthly active users. The number game here is tricky. "Active" users are different from registered users, who may or may not log in with any amount of regularity.
A registered but inactive user is of little value to advertisers. Active users are measured variously as "daily active" or "monthly active". These log in at least one a day or once a month respectively. Typically, for any social media platform, the number of monthly active users or MAUs as they are called, is significantly higher than the number of daily active users or DAUs.
An important caveat from TNW contributor Simon Kemp explains the discrepancy in numbers. "It's worth noting that the numbers Facebook reports to advertisers can change on a daily basis though, and the platform even reported a slight dip in global user numbers just before it announced its two billion active user milestone," says Kemp in the TNW article. Which is to say, that the numbers for the earnings call and those reported to advertisers are measured differently.(TOI)
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