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America Is Basically Irrelevant To The Future Of Facebook

In the last few weeks, one of the more popular headlines about Facebook is the idea that it is finally dying, its users drifting away to Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp or Snapchat.

In reality, however, the opposite is happening.

In the last year, despite the rise of Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, Facebook actually became more dominant than it was the year before, as this stat from Pew shows:

Pew internet Facebook

A spokesperson for Facebook sent me a bunch of stats about how the site is doing at the end of 2013 — 728 million daily users, up 25% from 2012, etc., etc. — but one factoid stood out:

  • Approximately 80% of our monthly active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.

Here is what the looks like as a chart:

Facebook users

Users in North America have been basically flat since 2012. The U.S./Canada added only 2 million daily users last quarter.

By contrast, Asia and the Rest of the World is where user-growth is really moving the needle. The non-West added 20 million users in the last quarter alone — 10 times as many as North America. And as the non-West is so much vaster than the U.S., you can see that the ROW is where the vast majority of Facebook’s future growth will come from.

Currently, Facebook probably gets the largest portion of its revenue from the West. But in the future, that will shift and Facebook will become a much more African and Asian company.

In the U.S., Facebook is essentially tapped out.

So this is why listening to Western opinion about the health of Facebook is now essentially useless — Westerners are in exactly the wrong place when it comes to observing accurate anecdotes about Facebook.

The future lies in the East.

Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.

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