Facebook has often been accused of inflating its numbers, be it of users or views on its videos. More recently, it claimed 1.55 billion monthly active users on its platform, which — just for the sake of comparison — makes it an enormous 22% of the world population!
But again, the reality behind of those numbers was questioned as Facebook also used to count those users in its MAU who used Facebook for signing into third-party apps and games.
In the past, according to 10-Q of Facebook,
We define a monthly active user as a registered Facebook user who logged in and visited Facebook through our website or a mobile device, used our Messenger app (and is also a registered Facebook user), or took an action to share content or activity with his or her Facebook friends or connections via a third-party website or application that is integrated with Facebook, in the last 30 days as of the date of measurement.
However, Facebook has made clear, the changes in its recent 10-Q update to its SEC filing, according to which it no longer counts those third party app users. That effectively means only people who sign into Facebook or Messenger directly are counted as active users.
We define a monthly active user as a registered Facebook user who logged in and visited Facebook through our website or a mobile device, or used our Messenger app (and is also a registered Facebook user), in the last 30 days as of the date of measurement.
said the latest 10-Q update.
However, even after this update, this has had a negligible effect on the number of users Facebook claims to have and in fact, its monthly user count shot up to 4.02 percent quarter-over-quarter from 3.47 percent growth. Moreover, Facebook added 4 million new users in the US and Canada which are said to be its core and saturated markets .
Even after excluding the third-party app users, the company still added 60 million new users last quarter which is 15 times more than Twitter which saw only an increase of 4 million.
MAUs from third party websites or apps integrated with Facebook were a really small part of previous quarters’ MAU numbers. The impact wasn’t large.
said Vanessa Chen, spokesperson for Facebook.
The accurate and reliable information of the number of users is crucial for Facebook to keep its investors on a positive footing, and attract more advertisers to its platform. Facebok made $4.3 billion from advertising out of the total $4.5 billion revenue it recorded in the last quarter. This was an increase of 45 % from the same quarter the year before.