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Facebook Usage Hits 16 Billion Minutes a Day 107

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-a-lotta-waste dept.
1sockchuck writes "Facebook's 400 million users spend more than 16 billion minutes on the site every day, and view 1 million photos every second. That's prompted massive growth in the social network's infrastructure, which now encompasses more than 60,000 servers. Facebook's Tom Cook discussed how the company's operations team manages that growth in a presentation last week at the O"Reilly Velocity conference (video). The next day at Structure 2010, Facebook Vice President of Operations Jonathan Heiliger said server and chip makers have 'come a long way' in supporting cloud platforms since he bashed them last year."
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Facebook Usage Hits 16 Billion Minutes a Day

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  • wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:05AM (#32716742)

    A Lot of wasted time...

    • Re:wow... (Score:5, Funny)

      by boneclinkz (1284458) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:13AM (#32716842)
      Are you telling me that finally answering the question "which Jersey Shore character are you?", via 106-question interactive quiz, is somehow a waste of time?

      Some of us are working on a legacy to pass along, you know. When you great-great-grandchildren look at their mother and ask "mom, was great-great-granddad more like Mike 'The Situation' or D.J. Pauly D?" will she have an answer? Or will she have to look down at her feet in shame and whisper "I don't know."?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by shish (588640)

      A Lot of wasted time...

      Thank you for usefully spending the time to post this comment to a slashdot discussion, I'm sure your life has been enriched immeasurably, as mine was by sitting here reading it!

    • by MosX (773406)

      Communicating with people is a waste of time?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A Lot of wasted time...

      And a lot of wasted bandwidth too...
      They could read slashdot instead and learn about FB's privacy issues.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Improve global productivity by 16 billion minutes a day.

      Seize facebook and shut it down.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      ...says the AC on slashdot!

    • Re:wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:51AM (#32717286)

      That would be 40 minutes per user per day.

      I think it is quite reasonable to assume that half of the registered users is not using the site at all - maybe more - people lose interest, sign up for a one-time must see page, whatever. And unused accounts are not deleted of course. I am one of the less active users; I have an account and spend maybe five minutes a week on Facebook, if that much.

      So that would mean that every active user would spend almost 1 1/2 hours per day surfing that site. On average. Which falls for me in the "bullshit" category. Just totally unbelievable. I don't even waste that much time on slashdot.

      Viewing a million photos per second is more believable. I just opened my own Facebook page and found over 30 photos in the "news feed" alone. And I bet they count them all, thumbnails included. So take that as average: 30 photos on a page. And for an active Facebook browser one page every 15 seconds on average, I doubt they linger much. That is two photos a second they are "viewing". That requires 500,000 users online on average to reach that 1 mln photos a second.

      Now take that back to the time spent online: 1440 minutes in a day; 500,000 out of 400 mln actually online, that makes an average of 1.8 minutes per registered user per day to get to the required half million users online at any one moment. Hey that sounds much more reasonable to me already. And that would give me a total of a mere 720 mln minutes wasted per day on Facebook. That's a whopping two orders of magnitude off of the claimed 16 bln. My numbers may be guesstimates but I can't imagine I'm two orders of magnitude off.

      Now to think of the amount of time I wasted on this posting...

      • Re:wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eulernet (1132389) on Monday June 28, 2010 @11:12AM (#32717564)

        I think it is quite reasonable to assume that half of the registered users is not using the site at all

        I think the 80/20 rule applies here.
        That is: 20% of registered people use Facebook daily, and use 80% of the resources.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          Let's focus on those 20% then - that are the users that really count for a site like Facebook. Probably it's even more skewed though. I don't have the stats at hand but looking at e.g. wikipedia it's a hard core of maybe 1% of users that produces 90% of the content. Facebook will have lots and lots of browsers/lurkers and relatively few actual content producers.

          Anyway those 20% of registered users, that is the 80 mln of them, would amount to viewing 800,000 photos per second. 30 photos per page, that comes

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And if I had to guess, I'd say they count the time that people leave their browser up.

        My wife leaves her browser up with FB open almost all the time (until I log into her laptop because she's having a problem, and tell her Firefox is eating up a lot of memory according to top, she closes it, memory usage goes away, laptop problems clear up, then she opens FB again).

        So, figure her FB page is open on her laptop 18 hours a day, but only in use for 1 hour - 4 hours (stay at home mom and keeps the house insanely

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Please tell us more about all the pointless guesstimates you've derived this week. You basically tried to refute facebooks numbers with nothing more then "if i do x a certain way, so does everyone else". And then just piled on assumption after assumption to arrive at nothing.
      • Re:wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by s.d. (33767) on Monday June 28, 2010 @11:23AM (#32717702)

        So that would mean that every active user would spend almost 1 1/2 hours per day surfing that site. On average. Which falls for me in the "bullshit" category. Just totally unbelievable.

        Why is this unbelievable? Just because you don't play games on the site for 3 hours a day doesn't mean other people don't...

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          Because you're talking averages.

          Web sites tend to have many many more inactive users than active.

          And then still reaching such an average number!

      • Re:wow... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RavenChild (854835) on Monday June 28, 2010 @11:30AM (#32717808)
        I work in a computer lab on my university campus. I sit in the lab for 3-5 hours a few days a week. With this kind of time, I have noticed many people come in and read/post on facebook for at least an hour every day (I have seen people using facebook for my entire shifts).

        When I notice a line starting for computers, I go around and ask the people I noticed spending too much time on facebook to let those in line have a chance. I always do this politely but even though they have spent an hour or two on facebook, I am always met with a look of disgust. Some of those people have even started yelling at me and others I've had to call campus police to escort out. It really seems as if many people have a mental addiction to social networks like facebook. They fear that they will miss something important if they aren't watching the news feed 24/7.

        Those are the type of people that I see when I'm working the lab that lead me to believe these statistics just a bit. 16 billion seems too big but I can believe at least 3-5 billion minutes are spent on facebook a day just from the people I see in the labs.

        Now something I do agree with you with respect to the pictures viewed is that facebook may also be counting the time people are logged into the facebook chat or just have a facebook window open. I know I leave firefox open all the time with facebook somewhere in my assortment of tabs.
      • I wouldn't be surprised if half their users spent an hour on there site each day.

      • I think it is quite reasonable to assume that half of the registered users is not using the site at all - maybe more - people lose interest, sign up for a one-time must see page, whatever. And unused accounts are not deleted of course. I am one of the less active users; I have an account and spend maybe five minutes a week on Facebook, if that much.

        This is your problem. The 400 million number is monthly active users (just like most web companies quote). These are at least semi-active accounts, they have logged in and been active at least once in the last month. If someone signs up and then never uses it again, or stops using it, then they will not be counted in the 400m value.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          Most companies will give you a number of registered users. That sounds better: it's a higher number than active users.

          Secondly in case 50% of the accounts is active (which would surprise me; I expect a lower percentage), this would mean 800 mln total accounts. Or on account for every 10 people in this world. Currently the about 1.8 bln [internetworldstats.com] which would mean almost half of all Internet users have a Facebook account. Even at 400 mln registered users that means 22% of all Internet users in this world have a Facebo

          • Right, but this is giving you active users. I think you underestimate how big Facebook really is.

            For example, take the following info [insidefacebook.com]. This shows that 44% of the population of the UK have an active Facebook account. Keep in mind this isn't internet active people, but total population. If you counted internet active, you would have 58% instead (keeping in mind that internetworldstats.com is a bit old compared to the Facebook data).
            • by wvmarle (1070040)

              The overall penetration rate in Europe is some 23% according to the same page; UK is the highest indeed. Penetration rates in Asia (where >40% of the Internet population comes from) is much lower, Facebook is doing primarily well in their home market and in Europe. Plus another handful of mainly small countries.

    • A Lot of wasted time...

      What would you rather people be doing? Watching TV? Because that's the choice. This isn't some dichotomy where people come home and either go on Facebook or do something virtuous (like volunteer or create art or cure cancer or whatever).

  • Impressive (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That's a lot of completely wasted time and resources.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That's a lot of completely wasted time and resources.

      Heh. "I just thought I'd come onto Slashdot and spend 20 seconds talking about how reading and posting on another site is a complete waste of time and resources."

  • by jhouserizer (616566) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:06AM (#32716756) Homepage
    Just imagine the fun they could all be having with Pac-Man instead...
  • No we don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chickenrob (696532) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:07AM (#32716776) Homepage

    Many of us use tabbed browsers on desktops that run 24/7 with a facebook tab open.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:09AM (#32716800)

      I just run a bot which watches all pictures on facebook to screw up their statistics.
      And then I laugh: "ha-ha! Where is your statistical interpretation now! Ha!Ha!"

    • Re:No we don't. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:22AM (#32716954) Homepage

      I just had a comment from a coworker that I always seemed to be online. I replied that I used Facebook's XMPP support and was logged in to it from an IM client, even when I wasn't actually at the computer. (My home computer has Pidgin running almost constantly.)

      In addition to that, my home machine usually has Facebook open in a tab in Firefox. Facebook and GMail are pretty much my "always open even when out of the house" tabs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        So basically your coworker suggested that you have no life, and lo and behold, they were right.
        • by IflyRC (956454)
          Facebook is the best way for those of us that don't have friends to connect with friends we used to have. Don't ruin it for us. ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IsoRashi (556454)
      I'm not sure I really understand your post. It seems like you think the numbers are inflated because some people are "on" facebook 24/7 but not actively using the site all the time. Yet 16 billion minutes among 400 million users is only 40 minutes per user. That doesn't sound too preposterous to me.
      • Yeah, but if the 10,000 people who stay on it for 24 hours straight were removed from the calculation then the average usage is actually

        (16,000,000,000 - 14,400,000) / (400,000,000 - 399990000)

        39.965 minutes

        That changes EVERYTHING!

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        No, it's 20 million morons who don't know how to close a tab if their life depended on it.

        • by Lunoria (1496339)
          We know how to close tabs. It's just isn't worth the time it takes. You come to my front door, and demand I close my excess tabs, I'll do so.
    • This is also why it makes me unhappy when people use "Time on Page" as a meaningful reporting statistic in Google Analytics.
  • Is anything interesting (aside from what shows up on Failbook [failbook.com]) served up on FB?

    Didn't think so.

    • Is anything interesting (aside from what shows up on Failbook) served up on FB?

      You have to add "friends" first... And show interest in the things they do and while doing it amply and enlarge their ego, backpatting them if they successfully prepare a meal or make a picture of their ugly babies.

      Or, type a form of affirmation of established "friendship" by typing "lol" or other re-enforcing comments when they do something they perceive as "daring", "desirable", "funny", ... (which is easily to be read in which

  • My usage would be ZERO minutes if it wasn't for those addictive games that make me want to add everyone as a friend...
  • facebook no more (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stanlyb (1839382) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:10AM (#32716808)
    I have a Facebook account only to be in touch with some friends of mine......and the only "activity" that i see on my page is some smallville, zoo-ville or whatever-ville game post/request. Thank you, but no thank you. I am considering closing my account sooner than later, and i suppose there are a lot other people intending to do same.
    • Yep, did that last November, haven't looked back. Just reminded me of why I didn't stay friends with a lot of people in the first place..!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)



      "I Swear if you send me another Farmville Invitation I will slaughter your Cows"

      http://tinyurl.com/252stgq
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RManning (544016)

      I have a Facebook account only to be in touch with some friends of mine......and the only "activity" that i see on my page is some smallville, zoo-ville or whatever-ville game post/request. Thank you, but no thank you. I am considering closing my account sooner than later, and i suppose there are a lot other people intending to do same.

      All those game updates were driving me nuts too, until I found out you can hide them. When you see those, click on the "Hide" button and then choose to hide all posts from that app. It'll make your Facebook experience much less crapy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mobets (101759)

        FB Purity does a pretty good job of keeping these hidden. That way you don't have to keep seeing / hiding them when your friends switch to yet another farm game.

  • lol (Score:4, Funny)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:15AM (#32716874) Homepage

    I spent 16 billion minutes with your mom. ::does the math:: wait...

  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:17AM (#32716902)

    Are those *active* minutes where the user has actually taken some sort of physical action in the last 60 seconds or so or are those just minutes where a browser is connected to Facebook (i.e. their Javascript polling mechanism in place)?

    Anyway, looks like I'm an outlier. I log in to Facebook once or twice a week for 5-10 minutes, get rapidly disgusted, and leave. I used to leave Facebook logged in a lot and check it once every hour or two, then I realized it had become too much of a distraction and that when I left it logged in they used my login cookie for all these other unrelated sites on the web to push scarily personal information about what my Facebook-friends were doing on the web, so I blocked all that FB connect BS with Adblock and stopped leaving Facebook logged in when I wasn't actually using it. Realized how much time I was wasting with that crap too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Anyway, looks like I'm an outlier. I log in to Facebook once or twice a week for 5-10 minutes

      No, I'm an outlier. I don't have a facebook account, and have no interest whatsoever in the damned thing. :-P

  • by southpolesammy (150094) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:18AM (#32716914) Journal

    Dare we ask how much time the average Slashdot user spends here per day?

  • "and view 1 million photos every second"

    what they mean is

    1 million horribly compressed photos every second.

  • Obligatory (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    more than 60,000 servers.

    Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these.

  • by vlm (69642)

    Facebook's 400 million users

    Nice word selection. Like "crack user" or "inhalant user".

    I tried facebook for 6 months, I really tried hard. Then I evaluated what I got out of it. Which was absolutely nothing. Deleted account.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:38AM (#32717142)

    Given that Facebook usage is currently 16,000,000,000 minutes per day, and that the average life of a human being is approximately 42,048,000 minutes (60 minutes per hour * 24 hours per day * 365 days per year * 80 years of life on average [est.]), this means Facebook effectively sucks up the time-equivalent of the lives of a bit more than 380 people. Every. Single. Day. FACEBOOK MUST BE STOPPED!!!!1!1!1111oneoneone

  • by nickovs (115935) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:59AM (#32717388)

    I wonder how many of these minutes are spent at work. Consider that 16 billion minutes a day, at US$10 per hour, is just shy of $1 Trillion a year. Has anyone else noticed the correlation between the rise Facebook and the global economic meltdown?

    • And won't someone think of the pirates? With every passing year, more lighthouses are constructed while pirates' numbers dwindle.

  • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Monday June 28, 2010 @11:05AM (#32717460) Homepage

    People have lots of free time. Atleast Facebook means they're engaged in communicating with other people.

    http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/010218.html [zawodny.com]

  • All of that massive parallel computing going on... and despite that, judging by the actions of most Facebook users, it's not even self-aware yet? /sadface
    • To be fair, if Facebook became self-aware, and saw what it was composed of, it would probably destroy it's own self-awareness in a bout of nihilistic depression. Some people say this has already happened.

  • that's about as much time as I waste reading this website every day too!
  • by tmosley (996283)
    Sorry, but what is that in Libraries of Congress per runtime of Gigli?
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 28, 2010 @01:51PM (#32720314) Homepage

    There are now YoVille gummi bears and brownies. There's a Mafia Wars Slurpee. Farmville ice cream. At your nearby 7-11 now. Really. Each comes with a Secret Code which, when typed into the game, unlocks some game item.

    You have to admire Facebook from scaling up from a college photo book. It's also impressive that they can actually make their back end systems work, once you realize what's going on in there.

  • That's like 960 trillion wasted milliseconds!!!!!

    Seriously though, why did they design the milestones for announcements like this in minutes? We never heard about the 250 million hour mark...

  • They are growing, towards ground...

    People eventually wear off it's "originality", or learn few things about Internet outside facebook.com... Get to know skype, MSN.... Maybe even IRC... Also learn a bit about their email (that bit over facebook account confirmation) and how to attach to email... And there goes most of what facebook is for people....

    Do not underestimate facebook's pull - facebook is one big incentive for people to start using Internet. After that - it's just matter of time before they grow o

  • There are only 3600 minutes in a day.
  • Isn't it 500 million, like the movie [500millionfriends.com] proclaims? Even for Facebook, an approximation of 100 million is quite significant.

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